Monday, 31 October 2016

Bright Blessings ( a poem for Samhain)

Though darkness treads this day of ours
today is one of celebrating light,
time to remember the paths of ancestors
forever casting their eternal beams,
goddesses returning, resurrecting feeling
whispering enchantment, releasing power,
as the veil of  life gets thinner and dimmer
time to welcome old spirits that walk among us,
that enable us to dance and sing again
beyond this realm allows us to be blessed,
as leaves turn golden, and fall to nourish the land
under trees branches we can all nobly stand,
mother earth reaching out offering protection
absorbing our longings, accepting our wrongs,
in the vortex of time, keeps on shining bright
guiding us as we follow ancient paths of wisdom,
slipping through time, surrounded by love
allowing truth and justice to be the natural law.

( when the barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.
~Carolyn MacCullough, Once a Witch)

Sunday, 30 October 2016

For Diwali

To All of My Friends celebrating the Hindu Festival of Diwali, may the Festival of Light provide you with good health, peace and prosperity in the coming year

Diwali, festival of lights
a day of rich awakenings,
time for firecrackers to ignite
for children  to play with friends,
joyous, jubilant, carried with delight
the sweet smell of fragrance abounds,
colors of rich diversity fill the air
candles flickering, people gathering.
wishing  for understanding.

Prayers released for happiness
for laughter and smiles to glow,
for good to triumph over bad
time to love, time to share, 
to wish friends hope and goodwill
allowing soaring spirits to wander,
paying respect to different gods
the spirit of Diwali alive and well,
allowing light to lead us all
as celebration lifts spirits,
and true charity brings
joy peace and merriment
to those that need it most.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Empire Files: Inside Palestine’s Refugee Camps

One in three refugees is Palestinian. With millions of displaced Palestinians around the world, hundreds of thousands are refugees in their own packed into refugee camps after being ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces from their villages just miles away.
In her first on-the-ground report from Palestine, Abby Martin gives a first-hand look into two of the most attacked refugee camps in the West Bank: Balata and Aida camps.Thank you Abby.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Happy Birthday Dylan Thomas (27/10/14 -9/11/53 - Lest we forget this Literary genius

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born today on October 27th, 1914, at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea.The 100 year anniversary celebrations have passed, but that does not mean that we forget this blazing talent, by the age of eight or nine he was writing his own poetry, even before he entered the Grammar School in 1925. A quiet and introspective student, he was a frequent contributor to the school's magazine.Leaving  school at sixteen he worked on the staff of the South Wales Daily Post (later the South Wales Evening Post), sometimes writing scathing reviews and critiques of local plays, concerts and writers which needed be edited to keep from offending the subjects under scrutiny. During this very productive writing period of Dylan's life, he also became known locally for the offbeat jokes, stories and obscene limericks he told in the pubs at night. He would read poems he was working on aloud to friends and relatives, not wanting them to read the work he'd done, but instead to hear it. Along with writing, Thomas was also involved with local theater, both writing and acting. A good half of his 90 collected poems were written or half-written in his bedroom at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea before he was 20.
In a January 1933 essay in the South Wales Evening Post entitled "Genius and Madness Akin in the World of Art" Thomas discussed the idea that one gifted with genius often walked a line where it was "difficult to differentiate, with any sureness, between insanity and eccentricity." He asserted that "the borderline of insanity is more difficult to trace than the majority of people, comparatively safe within the barriers of their own common-sensibility, can realise."
Dylan's first national publication was in a small literary review in the spring of 1933. Later that year his poems were published in the more prestigious Adelphi and the London newspaper The Sunday Referee.After moving to London in 1934 in pursuit of better opportunities, Dylan's writing career began to flourish. His poems, essays, articles and reviews were being published in London and Swansea magazines and newspapers. With dedication and devotion to the craft of writing his hard work paid of when his first book,18 poems was released on the 18th of December 1934 when he was only 20. A second book Twenty-five poems appeared in Autumn of 1936.He would go on to become one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century.
It was in this year that Dylan would  meet one Caitlin Macnamara, and it is said that within hours of their first meeting Dylan, drunkenly insisted that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met and that he was going to marry her, to which she offered no objections. The slightly older Caitlin,who was a physically strong, trained dancer with a fiery and unpredictable temper found the impoverished poet vulnerable and sweet, if a bit needy. They spent the next five days and nights together, going from pub to pub and hardly eating at all. Later that summer when he and Caitlin met again in Wales, Dylan had a run-in with Augustus John, a painter and friend of her parents with whom Caitlin had been having an affair. Caitlin and Dylan eventually started living together near the end of 1936.  and was to marry her in 1937. A turbulent marriage, that weathered many a storm.
In 1941 , Thomas and Caitlin moved to Plas Gelli at Talsarn in what was then known as Cardiganshire, now known as Ceredigion, keeping a studio flat in London whilst spending some of the time working on wartime propaganda films. The couple left their son Llewellyn with Caitlin's mother, where he stayed until 1949. Their second child a daughter named Aeronwy (Aeron) Bryn Thomaswas born in March 1942. During his time in London Thomas would take part in more than a hundred radio programmes.Dylan and Caitlin  moved to New Quay in September,eager to escape both the war and London, moving to a little bungalow by the name of ' Majoda' before moving to South Leigh in Oxfordshire. His final home would be the Boathouse where they lived from 1949 to 1953.
Thomas is often labelled a non-political poet, but he wrote about the great issues of his day, such as unemployment, war and the danger of atomic weapons. and was also a life-long socialist and an internationalist, in his 1934 collection New Verse he states “I take my stand with any revolutionary body that asserts it to be the right of all men to share, equally and impartially, every production of man ... from the sources of production at man’s disposal” All the evidence points to Thomas’s holding revolutionary convictions both before he moved from Wales to London in 1934 and throughout his life. Before the Second World War, Dylan was certainly a man who liked to be known as challenging fascists on his patch, in Swansea. Writing in the Swansea Guardian, he was critical of a local councillor, Mainwaring Hughes, who aligned himself with the British Union of Fascists. When the BUF mounted a 3,000 strong demonstration in Swansea in 1934, Dylan felt the need to be involved to oppose such extremism. A letter he wrote to Pamela Hansford Johnson in July 1934 explained how he had recently written ‘a seditious article attacking the shirted gentleman’ – i.e. Oswald Mosely. Here, he even claimed to have been involved at a fracas when opposing fascists, resulting in him being thrown down some stairs. It seems the latter was something of an embellishment, but nonetheless such letters highlight his anti-fascist identity.
 In 1944, Thomas also wanted the Communist Party cultural journal Our Time to publish Ceremony after a Fire Raid, ‘pressing’ the poem “upon [Arnold] Rattenbury because, he said, he wanted to advertise that he remained a socialist” (Hobday, p. 233). Thomas contributed not only to Our Time but to its successor Communist Party periodicals Arena and Circus. On his 1952 visit to America, he also agreed to do a poetry reading for the Socialist Party of the USA without expecting his usual fee. And, as we have seen, Thomas called himself a communist and relished opportunities for political discussion in the final days in New York city. And, as his prose writings and film scripts reveal, he understood poverty and class consciousness and could describe them as experienced in Wales and the world. Dylan developed more anti-fascist writing during the Second World War, as he worked as a writer of propaganda films. In this body of work too – which was of greater significance and impact, but once more was not his most literary writing – he could use humour to skewer a fascist leader. His funniest of these films was undoubtedly These Are the Men, which featured footage of Hitler and other leading Nazis delivering histrionic speeches, although re-dubbed with an English language voiceover. The film-scripts reveal a socialist understanding of the cost to humanity of a failed economic system. Wales – Green Mountain, Black Mountain was too political for the British Council to show overseas. One memorable passage answers the early critics who said that Thomas ignored the social reality of Depression-era Wales:

Remember the procession of the old-young men
From dole queue to corner and back again,
From the pinched, packed streets to the peak of slag
In the bite of the winters with shovel and bag,
With a drooping fag and a turned up collar,
Stamping for the cold at the ill lit corner
Dragging through the squalor with their hearts like lead
Staring at the hunger and the shut pit-head
Nothing in their pockets, nothing home to eat,
Lagging from the slag heap to the pinched, packed street.
Remember the procession of the old-young men.
It shall never happen again.
He would often like to boast about his drinking and said: “An alcoholic is someone you don’t like, who drinks as much as you do.” Thomas’ health rapidly began to deteriorate as a result of his drinking; he was warned by his doctor to give up alcohol but he carried on regardless.In January 1950 Dylan engaged on a reading tour in America which was a great success. However on a further  tour in 1953, he collapsed in the Chelsea Hotel after a long drinking bout at the White Horse Tavern the result of a binge in which, as he allegedly boasted, he drank "18 straight whiskies; I think it's a record".this has become the stuff  of legends, but since then it has been said that he probably actually died from a blood sugar inbalance having not eaten properly for several days prior to his death, and the Doctor who treated him with both cortisone and half a grain of morphine sulphate, an abnormally high dose, and dangerous given his breathing complications,probably did not help him any further. He subsequently  died in a coma , a few days later on November 9th, at St Vincents Hospital in New York City at the age of 39. A tragic premature end nevertheless to this great Welsh poet and writer. And despite the myths that have emerged about his prodigous appetite for drinking it was certainly not alcoholism that finished him off, as his liver showed no signs of cirrhosis. The post mortem actually said that the primary cause of Thomas's death was pneumonia, with pressure on the brain and a fatty liver given as a contributing factor.Yes he had a love of alcohol, but first and foremost he was a poet the likes of which is seldom seen, and to define a man by his vices is to ignore his virtues.We should not let his reputation as a heavy drinker overshadow his great literacy legacy. One of the most entrancing features Thomas possessed was his voice, a seductive instrument which he used to enrich his performances that still endures to this day, he remain a poet unlike any other. Dylan Thomas took the very local and very specific and made it universal. Across all of the forms that Dylan Thomas mastered, the literary landscape was made all the richer by his creative exploration of subjects that he returned to throughout his career: memory, childhood and place. He wrote about the ways in which we belong to each other and to the place that we call ‘home’.
He is buried in Laugharne, and has a memorial plaque in Poets corner in Westminster Abbey I have long been a great admirer of his life and work and his unfailing commitment to his craft, that continues to inspire, so today I celebrate his birth, and his mercurial talent, and yes I will raise a glass or two. Cheers Dylan Thomas..A certain  Mr Robert Allen Zimmerman would arrive in New York eight years after Dylan Thomas's death, telling everyone that his name was Bob Dylan (later admitting it was his way of honoring the late poet).This influence extended beyond Dylan’s stage name though, going so far as to shape his lyrical style and even the types of songs he chose to write. That is another story I guess, but illustrates how Dylan Thomas had on many that rode on his waves later, and the poets who have followed in his footsteps who still owe a debt to his mighty mercurial talent. Every year the Dylan Thomas society of Great Britain lays a wreath at Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey on the anniversary of his death.

Poem in October

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbours wood
     And the mussel pooled and the heron
               Priested shore
          the morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
        Myself to set foot
             That second
  In the still sleeping town and set forth

 My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
    Above the farms and the white horses
                And I rose
       in rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
      Over the border
          And the gates
  Of the town closed as the town awoke.

 A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
   Blackbirds and the sun of October
       On the hill's shoulder,
Here we found climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
      To the rain wringing
           Wind blow cold
  In the wood faraway under me.

  Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea the wet church the size of a snail
    With its horns through mist and the castle
              Brown as owls
        But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
         There could I marvel
              My birthday
 Away but the weather turned around.

It  turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
     Streamed agaiI a wonder of summer
              With apples
         Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
          Through the parables
              Of sun light
  And the legends of the green chapels

  And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
     These were the woods the river and the sea
               Where a boy
        In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide
       And the mystery
            Sang alive
   Still in the water and singing birds.

   And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
    Joy of the long dead child sang burning
               in the sun
        It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there in the summer moon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
          O may my hear's truth
              Still be sung
  On this high hill in a year's turning.


Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Poem on his birthday

 In the mustardseed sun,
By full tilt river and switchback sea
Where the cormorants scud,
In his house on stilts high among beaks
And palavers of birds
This sandgrain day in the bent bay's grave
He celebrates and spurns
His driftwood thirty-fifth wind turned age;
Herons spire and spear.

Under and round him go
Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails,
Doing what they are told,
Curlews aloud in the congered waves
Work at their ways to death,
And the rhymer in the long tongued room,
Who tolls his birthday bell,
Toesl towards the ambush of his wounds;
Herons, stepple stemmed, bless.

In the thistledown fall,
He sings towards anguish; finches fly
In the claw tracks of hawks
On a seizing sky; small fishes glide
Through wynds and shells of drowned
Ship towns to pastures of otters. He
In his slant, racking house
And the hewn coils of his trade perceives
Herons walk in their shroud,

The livelong river's robe
Of minnows wreathing around their prayer;
And far at sea he knows,
Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end
Under a serpent cloud,
Dolphins dyive in their turnturtle dust,
The rippled seals streak down
To kill and their own tide daubing blood
Slides good in the sleek mouth.

In a cavernous, swung
Wave's silence, wept white angelus knells.
Thirty-five bells sing struck
On skull and scar where his lovews lie wrecked,
Steered by the falling stars.
And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage
Terror will rage apart
Before chains break to a hammer flame
And love unbolts the dark

And freely he goes lost
In the unknown, famous light of great
And fabulous, dear God.
Dark is a way and light is a place,
Heaven that never was
Nor will be ever is alwas true,
And, in that brambled void,
Plenty as blackberries in the woods
The dead grow for His joy.

There he might wander bare
With the spirits of the horseshoe bay
Or the stars' seashore dead,
Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales
And wishbones of wild geese,
With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost,
And every soul His priest,
Gulled and chanter in youg Heaven's fold
Be at cloud quaking peace,

But dark is a long way.
He, on the earth of the night, alone
With all the living, prays,
Who knows the rocketing wind will blow
The bones out of the hills,
And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last
Rage shattered waters kick
Masts and fishes to the still quick stars,
Faithlessly unto Him

Who is the light of old
And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild
As horses in the foam:
Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined
And druid herons' vows
The voyage to ruin I must run,
Dawn ships clouted aground,
Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue,
Count my blessings aloud:

Four elements and five
Senses, and man a spirit in love
Thangling through this spun slime
To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come
And the lost, moonshine domes,
And the sea that hides his secret selves
Deep in its black, base bones,
Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh,
And this last blessing most,

That the closer I move
To death, one man through his sundered hulks,
The louder the sun blooms
And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
And every wave of the way
And gale I tackle, the whole world then,
With more triumphant faith
That ever was since the world was said,
Spins its morning of praise,

I hear the bouncing hills
Grow larked and greener at berry brown
Fall and the dew larks sing
Taller this thuderclap spring, and how
More spanned with angles ride
The mansouled fiery islands! Oh,
Holier then their eyes,
And my shining men no more alone
As I sail out to die

Selected Bibliography

Poems (1971)
Collected Poems (1952)
In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (1952)
Deaths and Entrances (1946)
New Poems (1943)
The Map of Love (1939)
The World I Breath (1939)
Twenty-Five Poems (1936)
18 Poems (The Fortune press, 1934)


Early Prose Writings (1971)
Collected Prose (1969)
The Beach of Falesá (1964)
Letters to Vernon Watkins (1957)
Adventures in the Skin Trade, and Other Stories (1955)
A Prospect of the Sea (1955)
A Child’s Christmas in Wales (1954)
Quite Early One Morning (1954)
The Doctor and the Devils (1953)
The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940)
Notebooks (1934)

Under Milk Wood (1954)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

After the jungle burned

A twinge in the pit of the stomach
as tents and shelters went up in flames
refugees fleeing poverty and war
but when forced to go it is time to burn.

A case of hope deferred
as vultures gathered to watch
with their notebooks and pens,
as peoples homes melted before them.

And winter will soon be here
humans left to wander in confusion
with no permanent place to go
man-made victims simply abandoned.

Damned time, and time again
treated worse than animals
but all have names
this wave of humanity
treated with no compassion.

But they will keep on trying
even when doors are slammed
we must play our part
give them a huge welcome
instead of closing the borders
its time for them to be opened.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Every woman and man is a star

( Dedicated to my partner Jane the mighty furbster and her friend Julie)

I believe we are all on a journey

in the end we will all return,

dancing forever in eternity

guiding constellations of influence,

tiny bones manifesting again

supplying infinity

glowing embers in the sky,

huge gigantic stars

loaded with light

celestial watchers of the universe,

so keep on gazing

looking out,

glistening above us

there is so much beauty

glowing forever

amidst the darkness

for all to see ,

shining forever

on you and me.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Ken Loach: life in austerity Britain is 'consciously cruel'

For over 50 years now Ken Loach has been making films that rage against social injustice in the UK and the world giving his voice to the downtrodden. His work has continually made us confront many of the issues we'd rather avoid. He retired  in 2014, but made a return in response to the Conservative victory last year, and now wants us all to take a hard look at austerity Britain. Loach’s  latest film, I am Daniel Blake is a story about a skilled working class man who, after having suffered a heart attack, is at the end of his tether as a result of his attempts to navigate an uncaring, remote and labyrinthine ‘work capability assessment’ process integral to the UK benefit system. The scenario is one in which many of us today have unfortunately have experienced directly or known of friends or family who have/are going through a similar nightmare.The harsh case for many people, at the moment in time is that they are  being taken off benefits because  they are deemed fit for work even though many are actually still too sick to work.
Last year alone 1.1m emergency food parcels were handed out. And as Ken Loach points out, the government is consciously responsible for it. The scale of the suffering is cruel and immense and the Tories simply don't give a damn.This is because it is deliberate and is ideologically driven which has led to the poorest and most vulnerable among us becoming the principal victims of savage cuts.There is simply nothing accidental about any of all this.
The above  interview in which Ken Loach is joined  by Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng to debate what's happening within Britain's welfare system today also serves perfectly to illustrate how completely out of touch with the real world the Tories are, and how they have actually started to believe their own pathological lies. The Tories are willfully destroying Britain and peoples lives, with their draconian callous punitive measures, it really could not be any clearer..
It is surely time to fight back against the Governments continuing 'conscious cruelty' towards the poor and the poverty and humiliation that is inflicted upon them on a daily basis by welfare cuts..

Friday, 21 October 2016

Cofiwch Aberfan/ Remember Aberfan

Wales will  remember  today the Aberfan tragedy . At  approcimately 9.14am on Friday, October 21 1966 a coal tip slid down a mountain slide into the mining village of Aberfan in the South Wales valleys, after several days of heavy rain, Liquified and pouring down  this black tidal wave would engulf everything in its path in this catastrophic tragedy. It would smother a farm, around twenty houses, demolish Pantglas and severely damage the Secondary School. and the local junior school. The disaster claimed the lives of 144 people, 126 of whom were school children. It was a whole week before all the bodies were recovered.
This horror was felt around the world and was made even more poignant as news emerged of previous warnings and previous slides that had been brushed aside. The National Coal Board (NCB) had been repeatedly been warned to move the slag heaps to a safer location, because they were also close to natural underwater springs.Did the NCB have the decency to acknowledge their blame, to bow their head in shame, like hell no, but we were to  learn sadly far too late that the NCB was ostensibly a capitalist organisation more concerned with profit than lives.  A report by the government at the time said " Blame  for the disaster rests upon  the National Coal Board. The legal liabilities of the National Coal Board to pay compensation for the  personal injury ( fatal or otherwise) and  damage to property is incontestable and uncontested." 
The Government of the day was also extremely insensitive to the victims families, and people would have to wait for years for compensation. It was to  the eternal shame of Lord George Thomas of Tonypandy that he did not do more to support the people of Aberfan, and it was the shame of the establishment that funds raised for the disaster were used to move the slag heaps from the school. Thomas many believed was more interested in toadying up to Royalty than supporting the people of the valleys. Perhaps what moved Welsh Labour to take some action were the fear of other voices speaking out. Plaid Cymru MP, Gwynfor Evans elected in 1966 suggested that had the slag heap  had fell on Eton or a school in the Home Counties more would have been done.
So today we remember the people of Aberfan, their collective loss, a community that is still profoundly affected by this disaster, one in three survivors still suffering  from Post traumatic stress,  nearly 50 years after this tragic event took place.  People felt guilty that they were  left alive, they did not feel like survivors, cases of children not being allowed to play in the street, in case it upset other parents.
Let us  hope that lessons learnt from this incident can be learnt for tomorrow, and  remember that this bitter legacy still continues, what with continuing social and economic problems in the South Wales valleys still  being wrought  because of successive governments who have made lives a  continuing source of discomfort.  Combined with the failure of responsibility by the relevant authorities and the appalling behaviour of  some parties in the aftermath of the disaster.
Today, however there is very  little to remind visitors of  this tragic path, just an abstract memorial garden in the village and the childrens section in the graveyard. The sores and wounds of this gross injustice are forever stored in the collective feelings of the people of Wales. Lest we forget.

Cofiwch Aberfan/ Remember Aberfan

On October 21 1966

a ticking timebomb of slurry

left a community scarred

angels laughter forever lost

buried deep in the wounds of history

my nation mourns with anger 

bitterness and shame

after the spoils of injustice

drowned a community in coal

left generations in ruin

our tears keep on flowing

never ever  forgiving.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Changes to the Human Rights Act

A quick plug for the following event, todayOn Wednesday 19th October Clynfyw Care Farm is holding an event at Small World Theatre, Cardigan, relating to changes that the Government is planning to make to The Human Rights Act.
Since the Second World War, The Human Rights Act has been a vital tool that supports and protects us all. The proposed changes will have an impact on our whole society.
In 2015, the Daily Telegraph published an open letter signed by 163 organisations, which called on “those with power to respect human rights laws”. The organisations represented people from across the UK including carers, disabled people and children, professional bodies like the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing, and local councils. The letter called on “those with power to reflect on the meaningful, often quiet, ways human rights make a difference for people in their everyday lives.”
‘There are pros and cons to every argument,’ said Clynfyw’s Jim Bowen. ‘In this event we present both sides, with speakers explaining what the Act is, how it has helped to protect us as a society and how it might evolve in the future.’
The new measures will erode the right, to privacy. to a fair trial, to protest an to freedom from torture and discrimination. It will enable the government to deport more people and defy the European Convention on Human Rights. The current law gives us the right to get justice from British courts without having to go to the European court. It requires all public bodies, including central and local government, the police, the National Health Service, prisons and other services to abide by these human rights, and extend to outsourced public services such as care homes.
The legislation also includes the right to life, not be tortured or subjected to inhuman treatment, not be held as a slave, to liberty and security of the person, to a fair trial, not to be retrospectively convicted for a crime, to a private and family life, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to freedom of expression, to freedom of assembly and association, to marriage, not to be discriminated against, to the peaceful enjoyment  of one's property and the right to education.
Speakers have been invited from the Welsh Conservatives and also the British Institute of Human Rights. Each will explain how they believe the Human Rights Act should be used to protect and develop our country as a whole, and whether changes are needed at all.
The Human Rights Act is of great relevance to us all. It is especially important to everyone in Social Care as there are significant rights and duties that everyone should know about. Everyone is welcome. There will also be a free soup and rolls for lunch for all attendees. Please come and join me please let us know if you can.I have a load of free badges from my local amnesty International in support of saving the Human Rights Act that I will be distributing.g

More information: 01239 841236

 I believe public opinion is against scrapping this act, and that people are prepared to fight for it.Please sign the following petition it would mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Monday, 17 October 2016

So long Dario Fo (24/4/26 -13/10/16)

(accidentally deleted this post earlier, so had to come up with something new)

It was with sadness, that I discovered from an Italian friend the death of Dario Fo. A writer and performer whose onstage antics offended popes and presidents, bureaucrats and  and conservatives of every stripe, died on Friday at home in Milan. His death was confirmed by his Italian publisher, Chiaralette, he succumbed to complications arising from a lung condition he had suffered for years,he was 90.
In 1997, the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature,the Nobel jury honoured him for work which emulated "the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden, with a blend of laughter and gravity he opens our eyes to abuses and injustices in society and also the wider historical perspective in which they can be placed" ". It is kind of ironic that he died on the same day that Bob Dylan was awarded his.
Probably best known abroad for the series of plays he wrote in the immediate aftermath of the upheavals of 1968, such as the Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, inspired by the mysterious death of Giuseppe Pinelli an Italian Anarchist in a police station after a bomb attack in Milan a year earlier who fell or was pushed to his death from a balcony window,Mistero Buffo a retelling of the Christian gospels in an improvised format, which let him comment on everything from corruption in the Catholic Church to contemporary social and political issues. The play outraged the Vatican and was condemned by the Pope as blasphemous and We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay.In this play, based on actual events, prices were spiralling so high that ordinary people could not afford them and decided that they would only pay the original price before the price hikes. Like Accidental Death of an Anarchist, this play continues to be performed, in England as recently as 2012 and in France in 2014. The play Mother’s Marijuana Is the Best confronted Italy’s growing drug problem. “Rich people consume and use drugs, while poor people are used and consumed by drugs," he famously said at the time. Fo wrote more than 80 plays, which have been translated into 30 languages.
In addition to being a playwright, he was also a director,actor stage and costume designer,satirical anarchist,political provocateur, clown, jester and singer songwriter .Alongside his wife and muse Franca Rame he was an unapologetic anti-capitalist and remained one to the end.A fiercely leftist activist throughout his life, Fo’s work attacked institutions of organized crime, racism, corruption, religious theology and war.Unafraid of controversy, Fo was banned from Italian state broadcasting for 14 years and his support for left-wing causes led to U.S. visas being denied in the 1980s.
 Dario Fo was born in San Gario, a small town on Lago Maggiore in the province of Varese, Italy. His  father Felice,was a socialist, station master and actor in an amateur theatre company; his mother Pina Rota, was a woman of great imagination.As a student, he was called up to the army of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, but escaped and hid in an attic for the last few months of the war before Italy was liberated.
From the beginning of their careers at Milan’s famed Piccolo Teatro, Fo and Rame, who died in 2013, used their platform to champion the rights of workers, poor people and the disenfranchised, and to protest establishments political, social and religious, often drawing stern rebukes being jailed on numerous occassions ,facing violence, censorship, disruption and intimidation from both fascists, the police, the government and the vatican.After performing an anti-police show in Milan in 1973, Rame was kidnapped, tortured and raped by fascist thugs.Receiving his Nobel prize, Fo said that he shared the credit with Rame, as she had been his muse. Even as they subsequently suffered from failing health, they always rediscovered the vigour and inspiration to continue creative work.The inspiration for his style came from the strolling medieval players, the giullari, who travelled from town to town, setting up in market places and playing to the crowd, the ordinary people they belonged to.
Fo continued to enjoy writing plays that drew from Italian political scandals. In the late 1990s, Il Diavolo con le Zinne (The Devil With Boobs) transposed the Tangentopoli, or Bribesville, scandal to 16th-century Florence. The corrupt magistrate was played by the Italian stage’s leading traditional actor, Giorgio Albertazzi, who had never hidden his right-wing sympathies.Their collaboration surprised many, but they declared they were both anarchists in their own ways.His 2003 play The Two-Headed Anomaly,  took aim at Italy's then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian president Vladimir Putin,  and  was censored on television.
 After Rame’s death  Fo decided the best way to commemorate her was to continue the work they had done together.  Fo gave public support to the comedian turned politician Beppe Grillo, and later found a new kindred anarchistic spirit in Pope Francis whom he celebrated with a mock-medieval play about St Francis of Assisi..Fo ran for mayor of Milan in 2006 and remained a committed activist right to the end, committed to the working-class, and anti-war, anti-Fascist and climate change activity skewering Italian authorities with his sharp wit and appearing at a rally in support of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement last month
 Accepting the Nobel, Fo remarked   “A theater, a literature, an artistic expression that does not speak for its own time,” he said, “has no relevance.”"With Dario Fo's death, Italy has lost one of the great characters of its theatre, culture and civilian life," said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi..
They say we should be moderate
Not stirring up class war
But we're bent on being obdurate
We'll take it all, we don't ask more
We'll defeat their aims for starters
We'll foil their dastardly plan
Can we have their guts for garters?
We say fucking right we can!
-Can't Pay, Won't Pay 1970

So long Dario Fo, a giant of Italian culture has left us R.I.P

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Beyond the chains of humanity

Chains of fear
from Gaza to Aleppo,
the borders of Mexico
to Calais where tears run dry,
people crying out for help
abandoned seeking dignity,
waiting for tomorrow to call
the imprints of fellow man
to release them from pain.

As the politicians daily call
planting seeds of chaos,
with unblinking eyes
spreading darkness,
sadness falls and trust rushes by
hope keeps missing its targets ,
bitter taste is the daily harvest.

Far away tears of compassion flow
the winds of humanity blows,
trying to sprinkle some kindness
refusing to ignore or lose faith,
with freedoms banner speaks out
goodwill peaks out beyond the clouds,
delivering streams of conscience.

( this poem can also now be found here too :-   )

Friday, 14 October 2016

Senghenydd Mining disaster: lest we forget

At 6.00 a.m this morning 14 October 1913, a series of terrible explosions ripped through the Universal Coal Pit in the village of Senghenydd,  a town in the Aber Valley, four miles north west of the town of Caerphilly, in South Wales ( U.K).
The cause of the disaster was thought to have been a 'firedamp', when a spark ignites methane gas, and then explodes, this explosion sucks coal dust on the floor into the air and causes a huge explosion. In Senghenyd this spread even further underground of the mines, and was followed by 'afterdamp', where deadly poisonous gases  replaced the missing air and oxygen.
The result was 439 miners and 1 rescuer  being killed and it is now considered to be the worst mining accident in the U.K  and  the most serious in the terms of loss of life.It followed an earlier disaster in May 1901, three underground explosions at the colliery killed 81 miners. The rescue operation in 1913 lasted for 3 weeks, although by then the chance of finding anyone left alive had long faded.Fires in the workings hampered rescue efforts, and it took several days before they were under control. It took six weeks for most of the bodies to be recovered and the fire to be extinguished. The subsequent enquiry pointed to errors made by the company and its management leading to charges of negligence against Edward Shaw, the colliery manager, and the owners.The report was critical of many aspects of the management's practices, and considered it had breached the mining regulations in respect of measuring and maintaining the air quality in the workings, and in the removal of coal dust from the tracks and walkways.The report pointed out that because the management had not implemented the changes needed to the ventilation fans as demanded by the Coal Mines Act 1911, the fans were unable to reverse the direction of the airflow, which would have blown the smoke out through the Lancaster shaft, although Redmayne and his colleagues held differing opinions on the advisability of reversing or stopping the airflow.Further criticism was directed toward the emergency procedures. The lack of respirators at the mine was deemed to have cost lives.The lack of an adequate water supply for fire fighting was also criticised, as it would have been thought that the fact the colliery was such a gassy one, and it had already been devastated by an explosion previously, that the management would have made arrangements for a supply of water adequate to meet an emergency of the kind that actually occurred Shaw was fined £24 while the company was fined £10; newspapers calculated the cost of each miner lost was just 51 pence.
It would send shockwaves throughout the world, reminding people of the terrible cost of coal,the deaths of of 440 men on a small community had a devastating effect; 60 victims were younger than 20, of whom 8 were 14 years old; 542 children had lost their fathers and 205 women were widowed. The impact on individual households was great: 12 homes lost both a father and son, 10 homes lost two sons each, while the death of one father and son left an 18-year-old daughter to raise her 6 siblings alone; another woman lost her husband, 2 sons, a brother and her lodger
According the Carwyn Jones the Welsh first minister at the time of the 100th anniversary ' The Senghenydd tragedy has come to symbolise the dangers and sacrifices made by those who went underground in search of coal but never returned home. It is fitting that this should be the location for a memorial dedicated to all the miners that have died in mining disasters across our nations.'
In 1981 a memorial to the men who died in the disaster was unveiled by the National Coal Board  followed by a second in 2006, to honor the dead of both the 1901 and 1913 explosions. In October 2013, on the centenary of the tragedy, a Welsh national memorial to those killed in all Wales's mining disasters was unveiled at the former pithead, depicting a rescue worker coming to the aid of one of the survivors of the explosion.The memorial and gardens will not only provide a priceless and fitting tribute to all the colliery workers who lost their lives in the mines, but will act as a suitable and prominent reminder of the rich mining heritage that is ingrained into our communities.
I have written about this disaster previously but  I have always made it a point to remember my peoples history.On a personal note I can never forget the tales my own grandad told me, who himself was a miner's boy  in the valleys in the 1930's assisting  his father , many of his relatives were too, he taught me never to forget the long list of tragedy, human grief and loss in our history, and the sorrow of communities like Senghenyd who have lost their loved ones.I never forget too, how some peoples lives are  expendable in the pursuit of profit.

 The statue, designed by sculptor Les Johnson, depicting a rescue worker coming to the aid of a survivor after a mining disaster, situated at Senghenydd..

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Uniliver, I guess I'm not a fan

Across the globe Uniliver is still viewed as a ruthless exploiter of  resources and people on a global scale.Unilever is huge. It's the largest consumer products company in the world. It's the world's third-largest advertiser. And it's the most multinational of all the multinational corporations. More than five hundred companies belong to the Unilever Group, and they operate in seventy-eight countries, manufacturing in most of them. A unadmiring writer once lamented that "something approaching two thirds of mankind buy from or sell to Unilever, and most people use its products every single day of their lives." The company's own literature says rather matter-of-factly: "Unilever does business in or with nearly every country in the world." No other company can claim that ubiquity. The British and Dutch empires remains in place. I am not a fan.Who despite spending billions on advertising and promotion trying to present themselves as an ethical company that has cleaned up its act has a long history of behaving in an unethical way built on exploitation and misconduct across the globe. A 100-year history of relying on cheap land and labor to make mass products at huge profits but at high social and environmental costs combined with an insensitivity towards its own workers ..
I am not a fan of Tescos either,not a place I choose to shop  a supermarket that Uniliver is attempting to bully at the moment.Uniliver has recently demanded an extra 10% from Tescos trying to exploit the post Brexit economic situation,after the pound has plunged, in what amounts to many as daylight robbery.Not just to Tesco but to poor people who already have not enough change in their pockets for food to sustain them. Tesco have at least had the tenacity to say no.But it meant the withdrawal of lots of well known brnds from its websites and stores
Uniliver's  attempt at hijacking the prices is blackmail exploitive and self serving casting themselves as the saviours of the moment but avoiding mentioning their own roles in causing many problems of the global arena (such as financial crisis, land-grabbing, tax loss, obesity, malnutrition, climate change, habitat destruction, poverty, insecurity) they claim to address. Most of their proposed solutions either require passivity from governments (poverty will be solved by wealth trickling down through a growing economy) or the creation of a more friendly environment for business. At a time when we should be concentrating on more important issues like fascists,racists, the Tory's toxic policies, the refugee crisis etc etc..Uniliver's headlining stunt is rather low.
The consumer must be reminded that there are always alternatives,we still have plenty of choices,much better ones too, far more ethical too and that nones of us should  be pressurised or dictated to by capitalist bully's. Uniliver should be reminded of this fact, at the end of the day the people of Britain don't respond well to consumer bullying. Uniliver should also be reminded that many of the products that they are trying to manipulate the price rises, like PG Tips and Marmite are actually made here in Britain and in the case of Pot Noodles here in Wales. But actually owned in some way by Uniliver. Who knows, maybe people will notice how many companies are owned by Unilever, and perhaps  they'll rethink their shopping.Search for something better. But the fall in the pound cannot  not justify Unilever’s reported demand for a 10% price increase for an entirely UK sourced product. Uniliver are just using Brexit as a premise for profiteering.
Hopefully other supermarkets will try and resist price increases as most of them are trying to cut prices to attract consumer and maintain their market share against ‘low-cost’ rivals.Uniliver like other global corporations are trying to manipulate things to serve their own pockets, our interests are a very low priority. We must keep questioning them and continue to hold them into account.
On that note I could murder a Pot Noodle.I know,perhaps not. Laters.


Got back a moment ago, 10.15 p.m to discover that Uniliver has now resolved tts dispute with Tesco and that well known brands will now be back on the shelves..
After both companies’ share prices fell on Thursday and Unilever was criticised for blaming the attempt to increase prices on the fall in the value of the pound, a deal was reached late in the afternoon.Watch out for further price hikes in the future. As for Tesco being called the peoples champion by the tabloids, don't believe the hype.In a general emerging anti corporate culture, people are seing through them too.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Aberfan Young Wives Club

50 years ago next week on Friday October 21, 1966 , approx 9.16 a.m shortly after school assembly many tons of collier rubbish (slag heaps) swept down the sides of a  Merthyr Mountain  above the town of Aberfan after several days of heavy rain, Liquified and pouring down  this black tidal wave would engulf everything in its path in this catastrophic tragedy.A tragic memory from Wales's turbulent living history.
A new documentary will be examining how Aberfan has carried on in the 50 years since the horrifying events that took place on that day.The Aberfan Young Wives Club, to be broadcast on ITV tonight at 9pm on Wednesday, features the young women of the town who banded together to support each other and their community in the face of tragedy.
It follows the women who came together just weeks after so many mothers involved had buried their children to form a support group, which they dubbed the “Aberfan Young Wives Club”.The programme will focus on these women's vital role in keeping their community alive.
The group steadily grew in size and organised events, talks and trips, as well as helping each other in their bereavement. Some of the women will be speaking about their experience for the very first time.The film utilises remarkable archive footage as well as the moving testimony of the mothers who have met every week since the tragedy.
Aberfan was to many a result of a conflict of financial interests, which would see the death of 144 people, including a 115 innocent  children, many of whom were between the age of seven and ten along with, five of their teachers, in what is now known  today as one  of one of Wales worst mining disasters in it's history, not forgetting Senghennydd which I've written about previously when in 1913 over 400 were killed.
By the time the landslide stopped, it had demolished Pantglyn Junior School and 20 houses, severely damaging the Secondary School.

The sores and wounds of this disaster are now forever  stored in the memories  and feelings of the people of Wales because of the whole collective loss of a generation that was wiped out. We should try never to  forget  the children and adults who died, this human tragedy, that  many say could easily have been  prevented. The National Coal Board  (NCB) were repeatedly warned to move the slag heaps to a safer location, because they were also  close to natural underwater springs. Did the NCB have the decency to acknowledge their blame, to bow their head in shame, like hell no, but we were to  learn sadly far too late that the NCB was ostensibly a capitalist organisation more concerned with profit than lives.  A report by the government at the time said " Blame  for the disaster rests upon  the National Coal Board. The legal liabilities of the National Coal Board to pay compensation for the  personal injury ( fatal or otherwise) and  damage to property is incontestable and uncontested." The Government of the day was also extremely insensitive to the victims families, and people whould have to wait for years, for compensation.
So tonight I hope you can catch the programme scheduled,  remember  the people of Aberfan, a community  that is still profoundly affected by this disaster, one in three survivors still  suffering from Post traumatic stress,  nearly 50 years after this tragic event took place. People felt guilty that they were  left alive, they did not feel like survivors,there were cases of children not being allowed to play in the street, in case it upset other parents.
Let us  hope that lessons learnt from this incident can be learnt for tomorrow, and  remember that this bitter legacy still continues, what with continuing social and economic problems in the South Wales valleys still  being wrought  because of successive governments who have made lives a  continuing source of discomfort.  Combined with the failure of responsibility by the relevant authorities and the appalling behaviour of  some parties in the aftermath of the disaster.
Today, however there is very  little to remind visitors of  this tragedy, just an abstract memorial garden in the village and the childrens section in the graveyard.I hope that those too young to remember this injustice will continue to be reminded of this awful event that the people of Aberfan remember every single day.
In addition to the programme mentioned , Sir Karl Jenkins has composed a major new choral work, entitled ; Cantala Memoria - For the Children which was commissioned  by S4C, the Welsh language channel in commemoration and mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster.
Lest we forget, people before profit.

 Karl Jenkins - lament for the valley

R.I.P the little angels that were lost forever.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Respect to former Pink Floyd singer and songwriter Roger Waters


Respect to former Pink Floyd singer and songwriter Roger Waters who made his feelings about Donald Trump and Israel clear during a politically-charged performance in his set that closed out a three-day classic rock concert in Indio, California on Sunday night. .
As Waters performed the Pink Floyd song Pigs, Donald Trump’s face appeared on the massive video screen above the stage as a swine-shaped balloon with a caricature of the Republican presidential candidate floated in the crowd.On the side of the balloon “Ignorant, lying, racist, sexist,” was written as well as screens flashing quotes from Trump, including comments from a controversial video from 2005 released last week. Subsequent images showed Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
Trump's desire to build a wall on the Mexican  also annoyed Waters, who acknowledged the hypocrisy inherent in a country whose population largely descended from immigrants.Waters followed up with "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," during which 15 school-age children came onstage wearing T-shirts that read, "Derriba el muro" — Spanish for "Take down the wall." 
While other Desert Trip performers mentioned the presidential election, Waters was also the only one who brought up the Black Lives Matter movement in front of the overwhelmingly white audience. As he performed "Us and Them," the big screen showed pictures of protest signs. "White silence is violence," read one. "I cannot believe I still have to protest this (expletive)," another said.
Waters told the crowd that he's been working with wounded warriors in Washington, D.C., and brought a young American veteran who lost his legs onstage to play lead guitar with the band on "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.""Working with these men has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life," Waters said. He dedicated the song to all victims of war and violence.
Waters waited until near the end of his performance to voice his support for the Palestinian-led BDS movement. He said: “I’m going to send out all of my most heartfelt love and support to all those young people on the campuses of the universities of California who are standing up for their brothers and sisters in Palestine and supporting the BDS movement,” he said, “in the hope that we may encourage the government of Israel to end the occupation.”
Roger Waters is a well known critic of Israel who openly supports the BDS movement. Waters in February told a British newspaper that many musicians are afraid to call out Israel over it’s policies in relation to Palestinians as they see the backlash he has absorbed since supporting the BDS movement.
“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic,” Waters told the newspaper. “I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years.”
Waters openly calls for other artists to boycott Israel and to not perform there as pioneering electronic dance act the chemical brothers are planning to do on November 12th. A band I may add I have long admired. Music and other forms of art don't exist purely on an elevated artistic platform that is separated from the mundane world. What makes it significant is its connection and effect to the everyday reality.
As Tom Rowland himself said in an interview back in 2005: “Music is bigger than us."
Israel takes advantage of this, by using culture as a form of propaganda to whitewash and justify its regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the oppressed Palestinian people.
This is no secret. Israeli government officials have summed up how Israel exploits culture in order to cover up its severe violations of international law.On that note there is a petition up and running, that urges this band to respect the cultural boycott. You can sign here, if you wish :-
 Before closing with "Vera" and "Comfortably Numb," Waters told the audience, "It's been a huge honor and a huge pleasure to be here to play for you tonight."His set also included "Time," ''Money," ''Wish You Were Here" and "Dark Side of the Moon."
So good that in this divided world there are still individuals like Mr Waters, who are prepared  to use their voices to continue to stand up and be counted. Sadly every age brings fresh injustice,and  those who speak out will continue  to be derided but at least theyat least  have the spines to use their voice to raise awareness, showing solidarity with those  that are often ignored, so thank you Roger for sharing your humanity.

Roger Waters - Another brick in the wall Part 2 Mexico 2016

Roger Waters - Pigs ( Three Different Ones)
Live, Mexico City Oct 1 2016

earlier  thoughts on Donald Trump 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Austerity Bites .

(guess I've become fixated. My first response to May)

There  is something in the air
and we breathe it everyday
a war of attrition
an ugly game of lies
as the politics of austerity
bites and pinches our lives.

Today, this country
is no gentle place
the sky full of tory toxitity
as they tear apart the welfare state
and so much more.

Easy to lose control
trying to feed hungry hearts
all we need is love they say
but on poverty's line
it's the only thing 
we have now for free.

It feels like 1979 again
but with more of a sting
as  politicians pickpocket
daily from our purse
and bankers bonuses still pile high.

Silence is not golden
time for them to hear us shout
beyond their false mirrors
no use just complaining
in the darkness we must sow light  
as they treat us with derision
time to drive these bastards out.

(This statement is now complete.)

Nick Drake - Tomorrow is a long time

Nick Drake singing Bob Dylan's ' Tomorrow is a long time '

I absolutely adore the sentiments as well as the  background noises.

If today was not an endless dream?

If today was not an endless highway
If tonight was not a crooked trail
If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time
Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’
Only if she was lyin’ by me
Then I’d lie in my bed once again

I can’t see my reflection in the waters
I can’t speak the sounds that show no pain
I can’t hear the echo of my footsteps
Or can’t remember the sound of my own name
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’
Only if she was lyin’ by me
Then I’d lie in my bed once again

There’s beauty in the silver, singin’ river
There’s beauty in the sunrise in the sky
But none of these and nothing else can touch the beauty
That I remember in my true love’s eyes
Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’
Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’
Only if she was lyin’ by me
Then I’d lie in my bed once again 

Friday, 7 October 2016

I, Daniel Blake

The new film by British filmmaker Ken Loach, I Daniel Blake won the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.Focused on the Kafkaesque ordeals of a 59-year old widowed carpenter who puts up with  health allowance benefits after suffering a heart attack, it is an indictment of an entire social system in which Britain’s most vulnerable are being thrown overboard by a cold and cost-conscious bureaucracy that received its marching orders from the combined forces of New Labour and the Tories.
Daniel Blake (59) has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away.
Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern-day Britain.
The movie's writer Paul Laverty has said the research team was stunned at how people with mental health issues and disabilities were targeted by the welfare cuts.He said people interviewed within the Department for Work and Pensions told them "they were humiliated at how they were forced to treat the public. There is nothing accidental about it."
The actress who plays the young single mother, Katie -- Hayley Squires -- who Daniel's character befriend, recently slammed anti-welfare "propaganda" that she said has turned working class people against each other. "Normal people are led to believe that this amount of people are on benefits and are therefore scroungers, and this amount of people are going to work to pay so that they can scrounge." "They've left us to argue among ourselves so they can keep doing what they are doing."
A must see film, ever so needed in the present time,which I confess already seen , but am looking forward again to seeing it among others, when it arrives in my local theatre from 18 November to 24 November. I just hope this powerful tool has the actual ability to change things or at least manages to shame the Government and show people  exactly whats going on in the uk today,at job centres up and down the country and how the DWP really works, a  rotten system essposed, designed to demoralise and create pain and despair with conscious cruelty on a daily basis.
But for the Conservatives, under the direction of Theresa May the ideological destruction of our society continues, and they carry on regardless, with an ideological mission of punishing the poor and those most vulnerable
 I,Daniel Blake represents though clearly of this Governments  betrayal of people in need, wanting simple sustenance in order to survive Finally I just hope this powerful film will evoke sympathy and recognise the fact that daily people are being screwed by the Tories, faced by obstacles, in  complete denial of peoples need for dignity and respect .Of so much moral imperative, I look forward to the day, when we say enough is enough.In the meantime well done Ken for continuing to lend the poor and downtrodden a voice.I really hope that this film and its powerful indictment of life under Tory rule  is seen by as many as possible.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Everyday in pieces- A poem for National Poetry Day

Every day is in pieces
tired and weary
returning  twists  never fade
but food and love so nourishing
helps release some starlight,
beyond the misty clouds
barking loudly in the shadows
in the hide and seek of eternity.
Everyday comes in pieces
but surreptiously hope returns
hellbent on survival
over mountains soars
pausing in moments
always wanting more.

Solidarity with women activists as Israel intercepts boat seeking to break Gaza blockade


A boat full of women activists which was headed peacefully for the Gaza Strip was intercepted and commandeered by the Israeli Navy yesterday in international waters.The Women’s Boat to Gaza was making good progress on the Mediterranean and the women on board were excited about meeting the people on the shores of Gaza who were waiting for them. Some Palestinians even spent the night at the beach to greet them. At 9:58am EDT, flotilla organizers lost contact with the boat, Zaytouna-Oliva. The US Embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Zaytouna-Oliva was boarded by members of the Israeli navy. The Israelis took control of the boat and rerouted it – under force – to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The activists were transferred to authorities “for further processing,” the Israeli military said in a statement late Wednesday.. It should be noted that it is an illegal act to attack civilian boats in this way..
Women from different parts of the world who care and feel passionately about the freedom of Palestine and Gaza had set sail to Gaza with two ships the Zaytouna and the Amal - meaning "olive" and "hope" - had set sail last week from Barcelona, Spain, en route to the besieged Gaza Strip,in order to raise awareness about and try to break Israels decade-long illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.The activists were transferred to authorities “for further processing,” the Israeli military said in a statement late Wednesday.
The boat dubbed “Women’s Boat to Gaza,” was carrying 13 women including Mairead Maguire, the 1976 Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland, Fauziah Hasan, a doctor from Malaysia, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright. The boat is part of the wider Freedom Flotilla Coalition that consists of pro-Palestinian boats that regularly seek to go to Gaza to try to break the blockade.
None has yet managed to get through yet..The flotilla is, at its core, a symbolic attempt to bring international attention to a blockade that has further impoverished and isolated Gaza, while sending a message of solidarity to Palestinians there.The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Previous solidarity boats to Gaza have been intercepted and their passengers detained in Israel and deported.Eight Turkish nationals and a US citizen were killed in May 2010 when Israeli forces stormed the Mavi Marmara boat that was part of the Gaza Freedom. The people in Gaza were excited about the boat of women activists making their way to them in an attempt to break the illegal siege and blockade that plagues their everyday lives The people in Gaza were excited about the boat of women activists making their way to them in an attempt to break the illegal siege and blockade that plagues their everyday lives, a group of Palestinians had gathered on the beach in the hopes of welcoming the boat to shore but the vessel was intercepted before it could reach them.Earlier in the day they had heard the terrifying sounds of Israeli bombs near their homes,as Israel bombed several areas

                            Palestinian women waiting on the shore to greet the Women's Boat to Gaza            
The all-women boat also wanted to bring awareness to  the role of Palestinian women in their struggle, as they face the effects of occupation and settler-colonialism, under a illegal blockade. Over 1.5 million most of whom under 20 years of age are struggling to survive in Israeli occupied Gaza. Israel keeps violating the international law. According to the studies Gaza is estimated to become unsuitable for life by 2020. Turning the city into an inhabitable place undeniably is a crime against humanity. Women also carry the bulk of responsibility for the care of traumatized children. According to the United Nations, more than 160,000 children in Gaza are in need of continuous psychological support,United Nations officials have also called for the blockade to be lifted, saying conditions are deteriorating in Gaza.
 Sondos Ferwana, a spokesperson for the activists, told a Turkish news agency that the capture of the boat was “another act of Israeli piracy.”The Women’s Boat to Gaza group released a pre-recorded video statement made in case the boat was intercepted.“If you’re listening to this, then you will know that myself and all the women who sailed on the Women’s Boat to Gaza have been arrested and are in detention in Israel,” Maguire says in the video, which can be viewed above.Maguire adds that Israel’s actions are “totally illegal.”The Women’s Boat to Gaza Twitter account published photos of solidarity protests in Spain as news of the boat’s capture reached activists.

The last message heard  from Mairead Maguire stated: "We are people of the world, we should be allowed to bisit our brothers and sisters in Gaza and not be stopped. We will continue to support the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine until they have human rights and their freedom."Solidarity to all these brave women taken, we must demand that Israel acts immediately to ensure the safety and well being of the crew and passengers on board the Zaytoun-Olive, and must continue to call for the end of the blockade. No country has the right to isolate and collectively punish them against international law. Not only were Israels actions illegal, but they set a terryfying precedent, giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. If in the UK, I would urge you without delay to contact the foreign secretary Boris Johnson, details are here, more contacts at bottom of post.:-

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary
Phone: +44 20 7219 4682
Twitter: @borisjohnson
Twitter: @foreignoffice

 Palestinian boats go out to meet the vessel but it was intercepted before it could reach shore.

Song for Gaza from Zaytouna-Oliva, Women's Boat For Gaza

"We anchored up and sail out from the shore of Spain
Our boat Zaytouna-Olive is her name
And olive is the symbol of a faraway place
To which we steer our course across the waves

We are thirteen women here to sail with peace in our hand
Towards our sisters in this foreign land
From many different corners of this world we have come
To bring to you the freedom of a song


We will sail for your freedom
Our sisters in Palestine
We will never be silence
Until you are free
We are guided by the light of the stars at night
And the power of the sea so very bright
As the world is watching us we bring our women voice
With a message that we all should have a choice
Your grandmothers they planted olive trees
Upon the land where you should live in peace
Though trees of thousand years they've been all go away
May daughters plant the seeds to let them stay

We will sail for your freedom
Our sisters in Palestine
We will never be silence
Until you are free"

Synne Sofie Recksten, Emma Rinqvist, Marama Davidson

For more details about the Womens boat to Gaza and other people to contact, here is a link :-

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

80th Anniversary : Remember the Battle of Cable Street; No pasaran

                                Detail from Cable Street Mural
On the 9th October 2016 anti-fascists from across the UK will come together to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. Socialists, Trade Unionists and anti racism groups will march from Altab Ali Park to Cable Street where a rally will be held to commemorate the defeat of fascism in London's East End eighty years ago.

" No Pasaron"/ They Shall Not Pass!!"

On 4th October, 1936, the people of the East End inflicted a massive defeat on Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.

During this time Britain was facing very serious economic problems. Throughout the mid 1930s, the BUF moved closer towards Hitler’s form of fascism with Mosley himself saying that “fascism can and will win in Britain”. The British fascists took on a more vehemently anti-Semitic stance, describing Jews as “rats and vermin from whitechapel” and tried to blame Jews for the cause of the country's problems. Mosley’s blackshirts had been harassing the sizeable Jewish population in the East End all through the 1930s. By 1936 anti-semitic assaults by fascists were growing and windows of Jewish-owned businesses were routinely smashed. Hurrah for the Blackshirts!’  The notorious Daily Mail headline is just one chilling indication of the very real threat Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists posed in the mid 1930s.
On Sunday Oct. 4, 1936, Mosley planned to lead his Blackshirt supporters on a march through the East End, following months of BUF meetings and leafleting in the area designed to intimidate Jewish people and break up the East End’s community solidarity. Despite a petition signed by 100,000 people, the British government permitted the march to go ahead and designated 7,000 members of the police force to accompany it.
They were not to be welcomed, instead they were met by over 250,000 protestors, waving banners with slogans such as 'They shall not Pass'( no pasaron, famous republican slogan from the Spanish Civil War) , 'No Nazis here' and 'East End Unite.' 
A mighty force had assembled prepared to defend their streets and neighbourhoods and their right to live in them.
As the fascists assembled in Royal Mint Street, near the Tower, they were attacked by large groups of workers. When the Metropolitan Police tried to clear a path through Gardiner’s Corner, a blockade of tens of thousands of people stood firm.
Anti-fascists blocked the route by barricading the street with rows of domestic furniture and the fascists and the police who were defending them were attacked with eggs, rotten fruit and the contents of chamber pots. Local kids rolled marbles under police horses hooves. A mighty battle ensued, leaving many injured and others arrested.
80 years later it is remembered because it saw thousands of people, from many walks of life, women, children, local jews, Irish groups, communists, socialists, anarchists standing firm as one in an incredible display of unity who worked together to prevent Mosley's fascists from marching through a Jewish area in London.Together, they won a famous victory and put the skids under Britain’s first fascist mass movement.The  fascists did not get to march and they did not pass, and were left in humiliation so today we look back on this living history in celebration and pride.
Significantly, for some people that were involved in the protest, Cable Street was the road to Spain, and many would go on to volunteer as soldiers for the Republicans there, this year also marks the 80th anniversary founding of the International Brigades. The legend that was Cable Street became the lasting inspiration for the continuing British fight against the fascism that was spreading all across Europe and would eventually engulf the planet in a terrible world war.
We might like to think those days are behind us, but anti-semitism, racism and intolerance  is on the rise. The far-right are growing throughout Europe. Following the divisive and anti-immigrant rhetoric surrounding Brexit to fuel a spike in reports of racist hate crimes. The winds that blew across Cable Street eighty years ago still exist today, we must remain vigilant to this. We should never forget the Battle of Cable Street. Teach your kids about it. 
Today and tomorrow we must still rally around the cry of No Pasaran - They shall not pass.

Men they couldn't hang - Ghosts of Cable Street