Monday, 30 December 2019

Is It Time To Scrap the Dishonourable Honours System?

It's become increasingly clear to many that the honours system is anachronistic and filled with irrelevant cronyism that is constantly stained with controversy. Stretching right back to Norman times, honours were historically bestowed for wartime bravery or to monied aristocrats. In 1917 George V invented the Order of the British Empire to honour everyday citizens, particularly those in non-combative roles during World War One, honours for celebrities followed.
The British government’s website declares “the honours system recognises people who have made achievements in public life and have committed themselves to serving and helping Britain”. Those fit to receive a knighthood, MBE or OBE should also “have made life better for other people or be outstanding at what they do”
 Now, Queen's Honours are dished out twice a year - to approximately 3,000 people in total,  names from the world of showbiz, sport and politics have recently been announced  Though there are some worthy recipients,  more and more people  are becoming  disillusioned  with the current system as it is seen as  being used as a political pay off, and the list of those who have been awarded honours only to be exposed as being unworthy of anyones admiration keeps getting longer.
It is really hard  as hell to see how the  following qualified or see what they had done to deserve an award. Child abusers like Jimmy Saville and Liberal  politician Cyril Smith were both given  knighthoods by the Queen on the advice of the Uk Prime Minister, alongside rogue businessmen like Fred Goodwin and Philip Green, who went on to destroy their companies through their greed. The likes of cricketer  Geoffrey Boycott too  who was convicted of domestic abuse of his partner and now it's been announced that former leader of the Conservatives, architect of controversial Universal Credit  system and of  death and misery Iain Duncan Smith MP  is going to be given one too by Boris Johnson.  It was his reforms  and total incompetence at the DWP  that saw thousands of vulnerable and disabled people die, and cruelly suffer. The announcement has sparked a furious backlash, with a petition, entitled 'Iain Duncan Smith should not receive a Knighthood'   already having been signed by 150,000 people, in it he is labelled  as "responsible for some of the cruellest most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen"'
Opposition parties said it "beggared belief" that someone whose policies had caused so much distress should be honorued in this way. Labour's Lisa Nandy said it was a "disgraceful decision by Boris Johnson to reward a legacy of cruelty and failure",
Writing on Twitter, she added, "This regime deliberately removed the safety net. It stripped people of their dignity. There is no honour in that."
The Labour MSP Neil Findlay has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament calling for the honours system to be scrapped. His motion described the honours systemas "completely discredited" and Duncan Smiths knighthood "an award for services to the Tory party and nothing else."
Many critics see the whole honours system, including appointments to the bloated unelected House of Lords, as an affront to democracy. In his six years as Prime Minister David Cameron stuffed unelected cronies into the House of Lords at a faster rate than any Prime Minister in history. He thoroughly deserved his ‘Dodgy Dave’ nickname. He stuffed so many establishment insiders into the unelected upper house that the House of Lords is now the second biggest legislative chamber on earth, second only to the Chinese parliament. The fact a Chamber of 800 failed politicians, retired Bishops and Archbishops, assorted do-gooders from the professions and 92 Hereditary Peers, who are there because of birth right, have the ability to delay and amend laws is just unacceptable and  makes a mockery of ‘British democracy’.
There are thousands of incredible ordinary people who go through life caring for others,,that we should be grateful to, our healthcare professionals, our educators and those involved in voluntary organisations  who enrich our society, and many other deserving recipients who have done good work in their communities, who never appear on the radar of the political administrators who prepare honours lists, and .subsequently go without any kind of official reward. Thus the honours list is too narrow and  fails to recognize the achievements of many while rewarding a select few.
A number of well-known individuals have refused an honour for a variety of reasons, whether political, personal, or because they did not feel it was appropriate. For example Ken Loach the film director, is one of a very honourable group of individuals who have turned down a discreditable British bauble. He told the Radio Times in March 2001:
It’s all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest.
“I turned down the OBE because it’s not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who’ve got it and Benjamin Zephaniah, the celebrated black British poet, was similarly strident in 2003 when he referred to why he turned down a British Honour offered by war criminal PM Tony Blair:
Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear the word ’empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised.”
“My obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE – no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-Empire
Personally the distasteful honours system  is a shame on our country. greatly discredited, problematic,and  not fit for purpose, yet what is extraordinary, is the British public’s  continuing acceptance of it all, as 2019  draws to a close and 2020  approaches is it not time for us to consider that this outdated and ultimately archaic and devalued relic of our country’s colonial past,  be scrapped,  or at the very  least we could get rid of the life peerages and knighthoods, because they smack of elitism. and replace the current system  with a people's panel recognising and honouring only conspicuous public service and sacrifice and those that are  truly deserving. Remember to daily honour too all that you consider worthy, our mothers, the peacemakers and advocates of positive change, that truly make a difference to our lives.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Poem For My Mother, Sheila Rendle nee Todd- Jones ,8/2/33- 26/12/19)

Let me introduce you
to a beautiful presence
my dear mother Sheila
daughter of a violin playing miner
born in Ton Pentre, Cwm Rhondda,
who taught me to read and write
the joys of books and poetry
prompting me to question everything
listened  when things went awry
delivered often with glad assurance
asked for nothing in return
fierce, proud, defiant but gentle
wrapped  now strongly in hearts
that can never be taken or stolen
she opened windows, points of consciousness
allowed us to accept life's frustrations
gave us reasons to try and always dispense care
delivered the most important lesson of all
love that  keeps on  releasing
the weight and depths
that cannot be scaled
I bless her for all she gave
it has served me so well
my allegiance is forever
this my simple way of homage
in endless sky and eternal seas
when the wind blows wild
in  days and nights of silence
may she forever rest in peace.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Tis The Season Again

                                Peter Kropotkin 

It's come round again, the time of year when I usually feel like some kind of traitor, because I don't enter into the spirit of things. It's not that I'm a total misery guts, I like it if it snows, but that's about it,I just don't get this time of the year. There are the usual suspects, the seasonal fakery, the waste of paper, the misery that explodes , and the annual artificial need to guzzle and consume vast amounts, whilst people commodify and profiteer from our faked jollity. Santa the manufactured symbol that resides right next to the sick heart of capitalism and consumerism, christmas at the foodbank the new order of the day. Tolerating neighbours stupid light displays and crappy Christmas carols. Reflecting on life and loss in general. The list goes on and bloody on.
We sing about peace and good will, while people caught up in war zones, and  countries are fractured by division. Our natural  impulse is to give, share and support others, feelings of solidarity and mutual aid,  these qualities find their form in the midwinter festival that in this part of the world, is now known as Christmas.Today, as the tentacles of the capitalist market reach into every part of our lives, those feelings are commodified, as we are encouraged to pay for the convenience of expressing our feelings for our fellow beings through gift giving. We fret about our purchases, are they good enough? Will the person like them?
But, as well as this, people across the world think of those who have less and donate food, clothes, toys and money.It is worth remembering that these acts of solidarity are part of our nature, that the impulse towards mutual aid is not just a once in a year anomoly, that it was a deciding factor in our evolution and is something we need to nurture, that   Peter Kropotkin wrote in Mutual Aid, is a factor of evolution. that we need in order to survive. 
 Blessed Saturnalia, roast chestnuts underneath the pagan tree, ..... oh dear oh me.... But children love it I suppose , this shindig of excess.  Their  sun will rise anyway, rudolph will leave eat all the carrots and someone will have bamdoozled the sherry.
I suppose it is is a time when many do genuinely take  some time out  to celebrate their faith, fair enough , but the original meaning seems to have got lost a long time ago now. I also reflect at this time of the year, will think of dear friends, lovers, poets gone too soon, but won't get to deep, need to retain strength, Time also to consider those less well off, those who may  be alone at this time of year, those who may not even have a place to call home, others who have lost friends, family and loved ones, those too  who have become lost to a society that simply does not care. Remember the many organisations and services providing  comfort to those that need it most, people facing homelessness and benefit disruption over the festive season. For some, this time of the year is a time of immense difficulty, fear and uncertainty, people left in isolation, feeling alone, left cold, hungry and without support, in a downward spiral. People who feel they do not belong, who are discredited and denied their status as human beings.
Whatever you do, try  take it easy out there, and  hope  you have a good time, follow your dreams, your currents, each according to your need.  Stay positive and stay human.and I wish you a happy peaceful  new year. Hard times are approaching, we ain't seen nothing yet. Conservative compassion knows no boundaries. We don't have to take what our leaders want to deliver, we can still make a difference. as foodbanks continue to grow, the Tories should confront the poverty they helped create. For now if its your kind of thing merry Christmas, nadolig llawen,  hanukkah, solstice, Yuletide, Saturnalia, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or anything else you  care to celebrate.Reach out to those that need  help, to those too weak to look after or defend themselves. not just for the holidays, but the days and years ahead, Think I've said enough. Laters...... heddwch/peace

Santa Claus says Free  Palestine

David Roviks - Christmas Song

Monday, 23 December 2019

Banksy's Scar of Bethlehem

The  British street artist  Banksy has bought a sombre Christmas spirit to a hotel he founded in the West Bank  town of Bethlehem , with a nativity scene evoking the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
It  marks the Bristol-based artist's first foray into the public spotlight having released a mural in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, a fortnight ago highlighting homelessness.
Dubbed the “Scar of Bethlehem,”' the artwork features a traditional nativity scene,  a miniature Jesus, Mary and Joseph under a rendition of Israel's concrete West Bank barrier punctured by bullet holes, the largest of which resembles a star over the manger. Three large wrapped presents sit at the forefront of the scene, while the words 'peace' and 'love' are graffiti tagged in English and French on the concrete,
The work is installed at Banksy’s Walled-Off Hotel,  which he opened in March 2017,where all rooms overlook a concrete section of the barrier built by Israel to cut off the occupied West Bank from Israeli territory,offering "the worst view in the world."and is filled with original Banksy artwork. The hotel also contains a small museum on the history of the separation barrier.
Hotel manager Wissam Salsaa called the work a "nativity scene," saying that "Banksy has his own contribution to Christmas.""It is a great way to bring up the story of Bethlehem, the Christmas story, in a different way -- to make people think more" of how Palestinians live in Bethlehem, Salsaa says. “Banksy is trying to remind the world that people of Bethlehem, where Christmas was started, are not celebrating Christmas like the rest of the world,” he said.
 "Christmas is known for the Star of Bethlehem, that led people to the birthplace of Jesus," said hotel manager Wisam Salsa. "You see there is a scar, there is a hole on the wall that marks the wall and the life in Bethlehem how it is today."
.Israel began building the separation barrier , in parts concrete, with other stretches consisting of fencing,in 2002 during the Palestinian uprising, or intifada. Built mostly inside the West Bank, Israel says it is necessary to prevent attacks, but Palestinians label it an apartheid wall,  a symbol of their ongoing oppression, separating them from Jerusalem. The Palestinians consider the barrier illegal and call it an Israeli land grab, noting that it has engulfed large chunks of the West Bank onto the Israeli “side.”  Aside from dominating the landscape, the barrier separates Bethlehem from much of the land owned by its people, and, crucially, it also severs it from Jerusalem. The structure, has been ruled illegal by the UN's International Court of Justice.'
Traditional Bethlehem Christmas festivities will take place this week at the church built on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born. That  is being continually squeezed by Israeli encroachment and by the imposition of the winding separation barrier through its land. As the separation barrier expands, Bethlehem’s territory shrinks and shrinks. Its continued ability to exist as a viable town reduces every year. The impact of the occupation daily bringing its heavy burden.The Church of the Nativity is famously located in Bethlehem, but pigrims vising the birthplace of Jesus will also witness one of the striking ybols of Israeli occupation - the Apartheid Wall  Peoples journeys blocked by checkpoints and thirty foot high  slabs of concrete. Nothing calm, nothing bright.
A longtime critic of the occupation, the manger scene and hotel  are far from Banksy’s only West Bank imprint. as has also created a number of works in Bethlehem and on the separation barrier itself.
In 2007, he painted a number of artworks in Bethlehem, including a young girl frisking an Israeli soldier pinned up against a wall.
In 2005, he sprayed nine stenciled images at different locations along the eight-meter-high (27-foot) separation barrier.
They included a ladder on the wall, a little girl carried away by balloons and a window opening onto a peaceful mountain landscape. Banksy also is believed to have sneaked into the Gaza Strip to draw four murals there.
One was painted on a remaining piece of a building destroyed during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group and featured the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house.
Palestinian graffiti artists, too, have made the separation wall a place of political and artistic expression.
Like elsewhere in the world, Banksy’s works in the occupied territory have become tourist attractions, in part due to him often ghosting in to create his works in the dead of night.
“Banksy is trying to be a voice for those that cannot speak,” Salsa said. "He “is creating a new model of resistance through art.”
For now I hope you have a peaceful holiday and a happy new year.

Banksy art on Israel's highly controversial West Bank barrier in Abu Dis in 2005. Banksy has made a name for himself with provoc

 Banksy art on Israel's highly controversial West Bank barrier in Abu Dis in 2005.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Man Who Shouldn't be King (Trailer)

British politics has seen tumultuous changes over the past four years.  While the question of Brexit and who will govern for the next five years appears to have been largely settled, there remains a crisis of confidence in the political system.
The royals are no longer immune to effects of that crisis, with recent events in parliament exposing the Queen to criticism and prompting serious debate about royal powers.  And of course Prince Andrew continues to avoid proper scrutiny having plunged the monarchy into one of its most serious crises for more than 20 years.
January sees the official launch of The Man Who Shouldn't Be King.  You can watch the trailer below.
The Man Who Shouldn't  be King  is a powerful new documentary that spells out the risks of King Charles and why his failures are the failures of the monarchy. It. takes a critical look at Prince Charles, landowner, businessman, political operator and future  king.
He may turn out to be a nice old King, but I along with many others are hoping for a different future, when the people  of the land substitute him with a president as head of state. Prince Charles is another royal who keeps getting called “phony” for claiming he cared about the environment while exploiting natural resources more than the people he’s preaching to.
Former government minister and Parliament member Norman Baker recently published an expose called …And What Do You Do?: What The Royal Family Don’t Want You To Know that called into question some of Prince Charles’ biggest controversies. Baker accuses the future monarch of tax evasion, greed, private jet usage, fakery, and perhaps worst of all, of being completely oblivious to all of it because he’s so entitled.
But whether he realizes it or not, millennials are not in love with the monarchy like older generations were. A YouGov poll found that only 41 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds believe the monarchy should still exist.The British monarchy has been around so long that most people take its existence for granted. But in reality, the royal family is currently serving at the pleasure of the people. If Parliament decided to withdraw funding tomorrow, they could all fade into obscurity. Following Prince Andrew's involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, many critics are coming to the natural conclusion that the institution that is the monarchy no longer has use or relevance or  a place for the royals in the modern world at all,it's a perplexing obscenity that we have them,  and in the 21st Century should simply be confined to the dustbins of history.

 The Man  Who Shouldn't be King (Trailer)

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Counting The Ring Of Years (A Poem For The Winter Solstice)

Counting the ring of years
on this the shortest day
every thousand years
a bird flickers past
and announces, all is not lost
reach out for another shore
quietly and slowly dive
snow flakes embrace the moon
finding the same root as us
breathe the air as needed.
Look to the stars for guidance,
as the evening navigates
be at peace among friends
there are places to escape
where enemies are not welcomed
upon every false dawn
break of day and sunrise
on lands full of ever changing patterns
we cling on with strings of thought
with our deeds, reach for tomorrow.

The earth still breathing
wonder at it's sacredness
among the storm clouds brewing
the taste of future days to behold
all in the end must come true
but  our words will not fail us
life's mystery, there now
runs silently beside us
reaching out,rejuvenating
let's us sing out, keep reaching.

As the tickets of time
still clutches firmly
the embrace of solidarity
inhaled and shared
beyond cruel winds
the rising tide of hopelessness
across the earth, scattered
far from the stains of cruelty
choose now gentle rejoicing
feelings that give mind strength.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Lepa Svetozara Radić ( 19 December 1925 – February 8, 1943) - Anti- Fascist Freedom Fighter

Lepa Svetozara Radić, was born  on December 19, 1925 in the village of Gashnica near Gradishka (the modern territory of the Republika Srpska – now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
She graduated from elementary school in neighboring Bistrica, the first grade of the Women's Craft School, with her somewhat older sister Dara, in Bosanska Krupa - with the help of Uncle Voje, who served as a lugar for several years in Podgrmeče - while she finished the other grades in Bosanska Gradiški.
 Already as a student, she emphasized diligent work and seriousness. Already then,reading advanced literature, Lepa had a strong influence  from her uncle Vlade Radic, who was involved in the labor movement. On 10 April 1941, after the successful invasion of Yugoslavia, the Axis powers established on its former territory the puppet state Independent State of Croatia, which, in particular, consisted of Bosanska Gradiška and its surroundings.
In 1941, at the age of fifteen, she joined the Communist Party, and joined the anti-fascist partisan resistance movement. During the Kozar offensive, Lepa’s father, Svetozar, and her 15-year-old brother, Milan, were killed.  At the time of the first offensive against the Kozara insurrections in November 1941, the Ustashi arrested Lepo and all the remaining members of the Radic family for their dissident activities. However, with the help of illegal Partisan associates, after 20 days of harassment in the Ustasha prison in Gradiska, they were released.
After leaving the prison on December 23, 1941, along with her sister Dara, Lepa became a fighter of the 7th partisan company of the 2nd Krajina Detachment. Shortly thereafter, she was a nurse in the company, and then a listener of the youth course in the village of Lamovita, under Kozar, and a activist on the Prijedor field.
During the Neretva battle in February 1943, Lepa Radic was responsible for transporting the wounded to the shelter in Grmec.. During the battle against the 7th Division of the SS she was captured while organizing a rescue of some 150 women and children seeking refuge from the Axis. She attempted to protect her charges by firing at the attacking Nazi SS forces with a barrage of her remaining ammunition , transferred to Bosanska-Krupu. First, the Germans kept her in isolation and tortured her in an attempt to extract information over the course of three days . She refused to divulge any information about her comrades and was sentenced to death by hanging.
 On February 8, 1943, Lepa Radić was brought to the hastily constructed gallows in full view of the public. Moments before her hanging, Radic was offered a pardon if she revealed the names of her Partisan comrades, but she  passionately responded, “I am not a traitor of my people. Those whom you are asking about will reveal themselves when they have succeeded in wiping out all you evildoers, to the last man." with a noose around her neck she shouted: “Long live the Communist Party and the partisans! Fight, people, for your freedom, do not give up to the villains! They’ll kill me, but there are those who will take revenge for me! And with that, she was hanged.
On 11th February German soldiers reported the execution had taken place and that the "bandit" had "shown unprecedented defiance." This brave act would  eventually propel her into the history books and  consequently her legacy lives on .She died at just 17 in her fight against the Nazis, but they were never able to break her heroic and courageous spirit. Her execution was captured in a series of haunting photographs. By the decree of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito on December 20, 1951,Lepa Radic was awarded posthumously the title of People’s Hero of Yugoslavia for her role in the resistance movement against the Axis powers—becoming the youngest recipient at the time.
 She will never grow old. Hers was the ultimate sacrifice made in the name of peace and freedom.No Pasarán!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Musical Highlights of the year:2019

 I am currently still in shock  after the  most right-wing Government in decades just slammed home a majority election win, Many  others too now, am sure shattered, feeling powerless afraid of what will come next. because we are going to be stuck with this fucking mob for the next five years now.
Despite  the daunting times we face at the present, people are  still resisting, standing up and demanding change and a better world, in huge numbers. Yes there will be daunting,  years ahead, but there will always be love and dance and song and, music that we can share between ourselves to keep strong and release beauty through the darkness..
In unsteady times, music can be a balm and also a mirror, and a lot of the best music of the year responded in one way or another, to that constant uncertainty. Anyway now is a time to pause and reflect .Here  are my musical highlights from 2019.
Seasons greetings. Power to the music and the people that make it. Times ahead going to be hard , but continue to try and support venues where our different tribes gather, am lucky to have one not  far from me The Cellar Bar, Cardigan. A truly magnificent  place, that caters for all manners of musical tastes , folk , blues, psychedelica, ska, reggae, homegrown  hybrids of immense talent, among other magical delights, Appreciate their value  In no particular order here are my musical highlights of the year ;-

1: Adwaith - Melyn

2; Lankum - The livelong day

3; The Mekons - Deserted

4;  Cate le BonReward

5; Kate Tempest - The Book o Traps and Lessons

6; TinariwenAmadjar

7; Leonard Cohen -  Thanks For The Dance

8; The Comet is ComingTrust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

9; Gruff Rhys - Pang

10; Patrick Jones and John Robb -  Renegade Psalms

11; The Last  Poets - Transcending Toxic Times

12; The Specials - Encore

12; Sleaford mods - Eton Alive

14; Cosey Fanni Tutti - Tutti

15; Alternative TV -  Primitive Emotions

16; Kim Gordon - No Home Record

17; The Art Ensemble of Chicago - We Are On The Edge

18; Steve Ignorant's  Slice of Life - Don't Turn Away

19; The Waterboys-  Where The Action Is

20; Penguin Cafe - handfuls of night

21; Men Of Gwent - President Of Wales

22; Gwilym Bowen RhysArenig

23. New Model Army - From Here

Monday, 16 December 2019

The Dirty War on the NHS – a film by John Pilger.

Congratulations Boris Johnson, Donald Trump is now pushing even harder for a lucrative trade deal with the UK, and we know what that means. He wants to get his hands on the NHS. That could force the NHS to pay more for life saving drugs, or sell off services to US private companies. The path to this trade deal just got a lot easier for him. A powerful government means that fewer MP''s  can scrutinise or block trade deals that put our NHS at risk. Truly alarming times.
 The United Kingdom's four separate and independent public healthcare providers (collectively the National Health Service) were established in 1948. Three core principles at the heart of the NHS are that it meets the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery, and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
The NHS was the supreme achievement of the post-war welfare state ,subsequently becoming one of Britain's best loved institutions, and the one most likely to keep you alive. It is currently in crisis . Yet far from being accidental, this crisis  has been deliberately designed by the Tories to accelerate NHS privatisation, forcing hospitals to compete against low-cost private companies to provide services. Since the Conservatives took power, the percentage of the NHS budget going to private healthcare providers has doubled.
A very important film has been recently released by renowned BAFTA and Emmy-winning filmmaker and journalist John Pilger, it is to be shown  sadly in the post election graveyard on ITV and ITV Wales  on Tuesday the 17th December at 10.45 pm. If you miss the screening on Tuesday you can catch it again for a month on ITV Player.
Do please inform other people, as it is vital as many people as possible, who value out NHS, please watch and share this film because this concerns  every single one of us.
Pilger  introducing  the The Dirty War said that he had wanted to make it for some time, even though he had already made a couple of films about the NHS. He noted that the war on the NHS had been going on a long time but was at a crucial stage now. The NHS, said Pilger, has become a major issue in the election precisely because it “represents democracy.”
But what was at stake was more than “just” the dismantling by the corporate vultures of a system that was, in principle at least, a comprehensive (from the cradle to the grave) and universal service, free at the point of use. Pilger explains in the film that “Britain’s deadly disease was class. The NHS was not given from on high but won in struggle. It exemplifies what is good in British society. NHS is a deeply democratic institution. The leaflet announcing the NHS to the British people and given to everyone said, ‘Open to all, rich and poor.’”
“But” he said, “the corporations hate the NHS. They and the politicians are carrying out a war against it. We have to fight for it. We should have done so earlier because it touches all our lives. It is the great connector between all of us.
“If the NHS goes, everything else will go.”
 Pilger makes clear that the dirty war on the NHS is aimed at giving free rein to the corporate sector, who cannot wait to get their hands on the service’s £120 billion a year funding, with author and Spinwatch campaigner Tamasin Cave  describing the NHS as a “£120 billion opportunity” for the powerful healthcare corporations. It will mean a healthcare system that will deliver profits, not treatment and care for those who need it..In it,  Pilger takes a hard swipe at the successive governments who are less-than-stealthily selling off the NHS to private firms to an unprecedented level in recent years. Some £15 billion, in NHS contracts has been given to private firms in the last five years alone ( The Guardian).
Here is the official preview of 'The Dirty War on the NHS. The film shows why the NHS was created after WW2 and how it has provided a vital safety net to generations of people that has  slowly over the years since Margaret Thatcher, the NHS has been made ready to be sold off to  an insurance based private  healthcare system.It also shows how these same run for profit systems in the USA refuse treatment  to many millions of people who are unable to afford sufficient health care insurance  to cover their personal  costs,Filmed in both countries , the film warns of the danger to the fundamental human right to medical care.
 In July 2018 it was revealed that health secretary Matt Hancock accepted donations of £32,000 from the chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think-tank that supports the privatisation of the NHS. In June 2019, US President Donald Trump insisted that the NHS should be "on the table" in any post-Brexit trade deal negotiations between the UK and the US.
In November 2019, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the existence of a leaked 400+ page document detailing the UK government's secret talks with the US about including the National Health Service in a post-Brexit trade deal.
 As of December 2019, the UK government insists that the NHS does not and will never face privatisation. However, spending increases have slowed dramatically under austerity, and cuts made elsewhere, especially to social care and welfare, have put the service under increasing pressure. Additionally there is the uncertainty of post-Brexit staffing: 5.6% of the total workforce are from EU countries, including 10% of doctors and 7% of nurses.
The N H.S  is now clinging on a cliff edge because of underfunding, which threatens to push it over, combined with  continuing attempts  to make the N.H.S unworkable by making impossible demands on the system and its staff,  with the Conservatives now in  power again,  the NHS is definitely 'unsafe ' in their hands, we have to continue  to fight to save it from  the grips of the privateers, because we owe it our lives.

Here  is a link to an article in the Mirror by John Pilger

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Marc Almond feat. Ian Anderson - Lord of Misrule

Marc Almond's 24th album titled "Chaos and a Dancing Star" will be released on January 31, 2020.
 The album was made in collaboration with producer, songwriter and pianist Chris Braide, who also worked on The Velvet Trail. An Ivor Novello winner and a Grammy nominee, Braide’s many high profile credits include work with artists such as Sia, Lana Del Rey and Halsey. The duo started writing for the album three years ago, their initial plan for a prog rock album evolving into something leaning more towards pop melodies.
 Chaos And A Dancing Star’ provides another twist in the unorthodox artistry that’s become a hallmark of Almond’s career. The title plays on a quote from Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
On putting together the new album, Almond said: “I wanted to write romantic apocalyptic love songs and set the songs in the fatal end of days settings with a touch of mystic paganism yet hopelessness. It reflects the out-of-kilter world in which we find ourselves living today… Maybe it is the end of days for all of us, and perhaps this is something we should acknowledge."  
The first music to be shared from the project is ‘Lord of Misrule’, here the iconic 62 year old pop star's fervent voice magically  powers a dramatical collision of apocalyptic and festive imagery, with soulful vocal harmonies, flute courtesy of Jethro Tull legend Ian Anderson. Marc  setting his eye on the pulse of political and emotional cross roads that we are all currently witnessing. 
Almond has long been  a summation of everything grandiose, subversive and sexy there’s ever been about popular culture- and in an increasingly beige, identikit world, we still need him, but don't let the Lord Misrule in,  continue to refuse, oh fucking too late, looks like  this nations already welcomed him with open arms.  .

Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule Please
come on in and sit you down
to partake of the feast
I count you all the friends I have
the ones I like the least
I'll shelter you from darkness
as it clouds over the earth
for the world is in a turmoil
and life has lost it's worth
Black will be your Christmas
and sad tidings to you all
I'll put my gifts under the tree
wait for the ash to fall
I'll give you guns and bombs
and all my military plans
I'll give you my machines
and a list of my demands
The Lord of Misrule
Lord at the Feast of Fools
not mischievous, but cruel
Lord of Misrule
I'll bring you to your knees before festivities begin
I may be a Lord, but please don't let me in
I'll be the last one laughing at the ending of the world
I'll point my finger at you and say you got what you deserved
take pleasure in your misery
I'll revel in your shame
a little festive schadenfreude
and wicked party games
so take your chances,
dear I'll let you covet every day
betray your friends and break their hearts
come on, and make a play
they'd only do the same to you
so don't regret a thing
bring your deceits to the table
and let the feast begin!
The Lord of Misrule
Lord at the Feast of Fools
not mischievous, but cruel
Lord of Misrule
I'll bring you to your knees before festivities begin
I may be a Lord, but please don't let me in
so face the sun until the shadow falls behind you
cause I'm the lord and I will always find you
so face the sun until the shadow falls behind you
cause I'm the lord and I will always find you

Friday, 13 December 2019

Don't Give Up On Hope

The results are in and we’re looking at another five years of a  vicious right wing Conservative government. It's a very grim day, and devastating for many of us at this moment of time. Truly ironic considering it's Friday the 13th. We are all tired now and need to mourn, I don't know what will happen next. I despair for our futures  and the next generations to come, Whatever happens we must stay angry, keep on fighting, more so now than ever  as we face the Tories running amok, they will try and attack us on every front, we will all need to work together to resist what's coming next.
There are many lessons to learn, like  how was the electorate overcome by mass hypnosis by a rabid right wing Murdoch media, and the relentless bias unleashed by the B.B.C.  A strategy used time and time again, to mask  what's important and sensationalise trivia then keep on hammering it to dupe the masses. Rather than decipher integrity from deceit, people usually succumb to the latter because of widespread manipulation.  It has ruptured the very heart of British politics and perforated its soul. How could someone who has made so many cock ups and blatantly void of any integrity  not just get elected but gain an overwhelming majority.  Are people so immune to his paltry, deplorable antics, they just abandon all sense of logic and yield to his oafishness. Johnson’s central campaign promises were based on untruths. 88% of Conservative ads are misleading. We know from decades of speeches and writing that Johnson is an elitist, not a democrat.
 Yesterday, the Yorkshire Post published a scathing editorial demanding: “The people of this country must never again be asked to navigate a maelstrom of misinformation in order to decide who will govern them.” The political establishment have treated us with contempt. Instead of encouraging mass participation, powerful actors have tried to manipulate us in any way possible to secure the outcome they wanted. The billionaires are now firmly in control of government. Everything that the rest of us value is now on the table.
We do not necessarily have to be within political parties to fight back, there are other ways, but now is the time to stay awake, recharge our batteries. Do not  for a minute think the Tories have us defeated, this is what the system does, it sucks out your hope and energy, a system that everybody is beginning to realize is broken and cannot be fixed. We should be wary of media exaggeration of the scale of Tory success: the overall Tory vote only increased by 1.2 %. While it appears many Labour voters have switched to the Tories in Leave areas, many others will have simply abstained. Thousands of activists campaigned and millions of voters voted for a Labour manifesto offering a vision of hope; but this election has also exposed that many, many others are feeling a deep disillusionment with all forms of politics.  How can it be right that the winning party will have carte blanche to do what it likes with just over 40 % of the vote.Out of the total electorate more people did not  vote  for the winning Conservatives.  I will leave you to draw your own conclusions and to act/ organise accordingly.
As our leaders will continue to treat us as dirt, and want us to remain broken, together we will rise and in solidarity we will find our strength. We can rebuild, With resistance, triumph and compassion I have a strong belief our futures can  and must be changed for the better. Forwards and onwards we must go, with our roads and focus clear. All these things for now give me still some hope.
Yet this Christmas and the times ahead  hundreds  of thousands of people are still facing poverty and inequality, we are facing an attack on the Human Rights Act, increased surveillance of the whole population  and policing which targets minorities. The racist hostile environment and state harassment of anyone considered different will continue alongside the ongoing assault on our beloved NHS. Our very democracy under threat by our Government that wants to put itself above the law.
 It will be important to remember that the power of the Tories will not lie on stable grounds. There is an ever-growing demand for Scottish independence, an emerging movement for independence in Wales and a case for a united Ireland is ever stronger in the face of the disaster that is likely to unfold with a Tory Brexit. The Tory manifesto was painfully thin. Johnson has stood on a short-term platform of ‘getting Brexit done’, but he has not set out his plans to govern on a much wider set of issues. The climate emergency and the prospect of a global recession are terrible crises facing all of us, but Johnson has not attempted to articulate any kind of plan to address them.
Though many are currently in shock and despondent, when this wears off I truly believe there  will be an increase in movements to repair the damage and to promote awareness.Passionate voices  remain and will not go away quietly,  needed now more than ever, and they will collectively rise.  We must continue to hold our Government to account, in court, in Parliament, in our streets and communities, we must  keep fighting like our lives and our rights depend on it.
Over the next few years many others will wise up and regret their decision to vote Tory when it becomes obvious that what they voted for has not been delivered and when it sinks in that the "lovable  buffoon" that they voted for is a dangerous opportunist  with no sense of obligation to them.
Our movements have no limit, no borders and belong to all who wish to be part of it. This spring of hope is not easily diminished, so don't give up on it. As  the late singer  Phil Ochs once said  "In such ugly times the only true protest is beauty."
There are a thousand vital issues to campaign over – from global issues like climate, through national issues like the NHS, to issues local to particular communities or workplaces. As our country's future is being defined and marked by uncertainty, whatever people focus on, organising to build participation in collective action is the surest way to change lives, change minds – and change governments.Our fight for a better society and a more just equal world  must continue. Keep on holding on, stand up for one another, and cling on  to the lights that can sustain us in our ongoing struggles. 

From Despair to Hope

There's so much conditioning, making us hate
that we become our own enemies at the gate,
beams of reason disappearing before us
colors of hope melting in the earth,
politicians burying consciousness
join in the revel, play with the devil,
bitter and biting, silently gloating
releasing fathomless depths of despair,
punishing people for simply being ill
with policies of cruelty that actually kill,
the ghosts of Grenfell still haunting the land
yet they continue building walls to divide,
louder and louder, the wind is raging
the air not yet full of resignation,
strong, courageous and resilient
we can overcome the monsters,
gentler aspects of humanity will reveal
to not allow ourselves to be draped in pain,
hopelessness will only hang around, if we feed it
blazing embers of defiance burn brightly too,
we can be saved, greet  tomorrow's epiphany
the future unwritten, can cancel  negativity.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Lowkey - Vote Corbyn

Today is Judgment Day, Remember get out and vote. Are we a shrivelled up, xenophobic, inbred little country with a population of serfs voting for sociopathic rulers or a grown up, inclusive, outward-looking multicultural happy society, developing fairness & fairness for all.
If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, you do not need to take anything with you if you are registered to vote – not even your poll card or ID.
Although you do not need your card to cast a vote, you will need to give the staff your name and address.
When you turn up at the station you then will be given a ballot paper where you select the parliamentary candidate to vote for.
Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm on Thursday – this is the same across the UK, no matter your location.
There's a 15-hour window of opportunity to vote on polling day, which should give you ample time to get down to your polling station to cast your ballot. Hope  you seize the moment to vote for hope and a decent future and Bin Boris. 

Lowkey - Vote Corbyn, Lyrics

December 12th

Change the world

Sell the NHS thats what Boris wants
He doesn't even have to lie they just fob it off
They haven't got the honesty but they've got the bots
Policies that kill they're not telling you the proper cost
More corporate violence that's what Boris wants
Contracts for affairs, relationship was on and off
The robber boss won't even cover what your coffin costs
Policies that kill, we can't bring back what was lost
Theres murder in his murmuring, his churning grin's harmful
Interrogate in several ways a journalist can't do
A liar in the booth, a million examples
As trustworthy as the BBC is impartial
Another suicide note she folded it in her purse
To another assessment they told her she's fit to work
Death by a thousand cuts this system that isn't hers
Didn't receieve a bit of dignity she did deserve
Vote for the Nurses, Chagos, Rough sleepers
Vote against the Oligarch's, Fossil Fools, Gun dealers
Vote for the Musician's sickest songs you sing along
Vote for Yemeni children under biritsh bombs
Vote for the libraries, childcare, youth centres
Vote for the truth tellers, not the fake news sellers
Something is rising, it isn't your salary
The only thing rising is the infant mortality
A pig, and a racist admits that hes shameless
Vote Corbyn, sure thing, glitch in the matrix
Vote against this oven ready born to rule trump puppet
Can't spell Pinnocchio they think we're just the dumb public
Cuts to the services, conservatives control the news
Won't forget Grenfell, Its fire in the voting booth
A toff, and a sloth, nose full up of charlie
Vote for those that cleaned up after the Bullingdon parties and vote Corbyn!

Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)
Chuck the government Chuck Boris (Vote Corbyn!)

 Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out
Now is not the time to mess around
There's killers in the Government just get them out

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

December 12, 2019 : Kick out Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party

Our  cowardly Prime Minister Boris Johnson hid in a fridge this morning to avoid hard hitting political questions from ITV'S Good Morning , this following  the news that revealed what a callous bastard he really is after he took an ITV reporters phone and put it in his pocket after being asked to look at the photo of a sick boy sleeping in a hospital floor, and after the immediate move by the Tories and their media supporters to distract people from this story and to attempt to rubbish it as fake news.
Johnson has been called by Chris Patten , medacious and incompetent, Mathew Parris launched a scathing attack on him, Michael Heseltine and John Major have also spoken out against him.
To the British public  he  portrays himself  as a Bertie Wooster character, his hair is a mess, he falls into ponds,  designed to make people feel sympathy towards him, because of  an intimation of vulnerability and a sense that  he is fundamentally unserious. But underneath the  bumbling facade, there is an undeniable ruthlessness and  has been exposed to be a serial liar.
Lets not forget how many times he has been sacked because of this,  sacked from his first job - as a newspaper journalist at The [London] Times. Then also sacked from his second job - as a newspaper journalist at the Daily Telegraph . Then lied his way into a job, telling the publisher of the Spectator that he would not pursue a political career. He got the job as the Editor. When he broke that promise, the publisher called him "ineffably duplicitous".
Alexander B De Spaffel Johnson was then sacked from two more jobs for lying - vice-chair of the Conservative party, and shadow arts minister. He had lied to the party Leader, Michael Howard, about an affair he was having. He had lasted 6 months as a shadow minister, before being sacked for lying.
He lied about the action he would take if construction began on a third runway at Heathrow, having promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers. He made sure to be out of the country that day, instead.
He offered help to someone who wanted a journalist beaten up. Then denied he had done it. (The tape recording of his offer of help is widely available. So is the Eddie Mair interview in which he denies it).He broke at least three of his key manifesto promises when he was London Mayor. And he broke his promise not to stand as an MP while he was still Mayor.
He co-signed a letter stating that “the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote Leave” then lied about signing it. He lied about £350 million a week going to the EU. He lied about using that (not actually real) money on the NHS instead.
He lied about EU rules affecting a Manx kipper factory. The Isle of Man is not in the EU. And the rules he said were EU rules were actually UK rules.
He promised to die in a ditch rather than request a Brexit extension. He requested the extension. Ditches throughout the land remain untroubled by his presence, alive or otherwise.
The Daily Telegraph has recently printed at least one, possibly several, apologies for lies he told in stories he wrote there this year.
He looked many members of his Parliamentary party in the eye and assured them that, no matter what, he would leave the EU on the 31st of October, so they would endorse him for the party.In short, he lies easily, fluidly, frequently and habitually.
With renewed focus on him, additionally  , a raft of offensive insults deployed by Johnson have come to light again this general  election.
The decades of remarks, uttered in public office, scribbled in columns and penned in novels have returned to dog the Prime Minister, who has been hesitant to apologise when pressed by journalists.
The comments that have come up during the election campaign include remarks accused of displaying of racism, misogyny, antisemitism, Islamophobia, classism and homophobia, written when he was aged 30 and beyond.
Sadiq Khan says Boris Johnson’s record on racism is far worse than Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism in the Labour party.Speaking on LBC, the Labour mayor of London said Johnson had put racist and Islamophobic comments on the record 'and been paid for it'.
 Writing in the Telegraph in 2002, Johnson referred to a visit to Africa by the then prime minister Tony Blair.
"What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies,"  a racist term for African children.
Confronted about the comment during his first campaign for London Mayor, Johnson claimed that the comments had been "taken out of context."
Boris Johnson was last year reported to the Equalities Commission after comparing Muslim women who wear burqas to "letter boxes" and bank robbers.
The former foreign secretary wrote in an article for the Telegraph that "it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes," adding that any female student who appeared at school or in a lecture "looking like a bank robber" should be asked to remove it.
Johnson also  has a notoriously bad track record when it comes to how he views women and women’s rights, throughout his multiple careers. As a journalist in the 1990s and 2000s, he made numerous sexist gaffes. Lamenting the reaction to Princess Diana’s death in 1997, he wrote that "we live in an age where feminism is a fact, where giving vent to emotion in public wins votes". In the same decade, his female colleagues publicly complained about Johnson pinning a glamour calendar featuring nude and sexualised photographs of women, even after receiving multiple complaints that it was making them uncomfortable. In a 2005 farewell piece marking his exit as the Spectator’s editor, he advised his successor to "just pat [their female publisher] on the bottom and send her on her way".
This kind of behaviour continued in his various political roles. During his 2005 campaign to become a Conservative MP he stated that "voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts". He also expressed how "magnificent" it was to watch "semi-naked women playing beach volleyball … glistening like wet otters" during the 2012 London Olympics which he hosted as then-Mayor.
Such sexist behaviour is also evident in his voting patterns. As MP, he has continuously abstained from voting on any sort of abortion legislation and, in 2015, comprised one of the 305 MPs who opposed cutting the tampon tax (where tampons are legally considered and taxed as a ‘luxury’ and an ‘unnecessary’ product) which caused the amendment bill to be rejected.
 Then there are his  homophobic utterances,in a 2001 article in the Spectator. for example, Johnson condemned a British legislator for voting in favor of “Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools.” In the late ‘90s, he also reportedly referred to gay people as "tank-topped bum boys" and compared gay marriage to bestiality.
And In case you missed it, Boris Johnson wrote a novel called Seventy Two Virgins and it’s even worse than you might think: “Hooked nose” Kosovar Muslims, Jews who control the media, “half-caste” characters, a “Chinaman,” hunter-gatherer African immigrants, and all kinds of other racist tropes feature in this tale of a terrorist attack in London (The Independent has a full selection of awful excerpts here).
Even he when asked to comment on the stream of offensive statements during a Question Time election debate special, the Conservative leader said: “If you go through all my articles with a fine-tooth comb and pick out individual phrases, there’s no doubt that you can take out things that can be made to seem offensive." How could anyone consider voting for this  individual with his proven history of racism, misogyny, homophobia and  lies. The prospect of Johnson getting into power absolutely fills me with despair.
Johnson and the rest of the Tories  would throw  most of us under a bus without a moment's hesitation. Please, if you're a decent human being, do not vote Conservatives tomorrow. Remember Windrush, the hostile environment , Grenfell, NHS crisis, deaths by austerity, rising homelesness, food banks, universal credit. The Tories have time again targetted immigrants, the poor and women, who have borne the brunt of their austerity policies.
 Tthe British Conservative party is diametrically opposed  to the good of the British public and deliberately acts against their interests. Their motives driven by authoriarianism designed to disenfranchise all, unless  you are not a millionaire, the Conservative Party is not your friend, they are enemies of the people. Inhabited by people with no feeling at all.
 Aided and abetted by their friends in the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and the Scum newspapers. Rags that keep on pumping out the same disingeous and divisive rubbish. Plus the BBC misleading people with their parroting of Tory narratives and soundbites. We should not forget the Tory's ruthless , toxic and unjust policies. Their constant assaults on the NHS, people on welfare, the disadvantged, the poor, which include poorly paid workers. As a direct result of their policies we have got the growth of foodbanks, rising homelessness, dodgy benefit assessmentsts, the trebling of uniersity tuition fees, a boom in xero hours contracts, while anti-democratically forcing fracking on people who have clearly stated they don't want it, while at the same time passng new laws to ensure the wealthy stay wealthy, taking the side of big business while eradicating workers rights and continuing their attacks on young people, single parents, maintaining a hostile environment to refugees, slashing education and social security budgets, perescuting the poor for beng poor while  at same time they give their friends the millionaires tax breaks and award themselves pay rises. The list goes on and on, they are toxic and out of control.
The Conservatives with their feelings of self entitlement believe they are born to rule. Unconcerned by any principles except their maintenance of power, they U-turn  on positions at a drop of a hat, betray promises and even sacrifice their own in order to maintain control.The interests they serve are not yours or mine, but those of the bankers, financiers, fossil fuel magnates and the elite
 The Tory manifesto further threatens to “update” the Human Rights Act to rebalance rights in favour of “national security and effective government”. No detail is given, but this could refer to control orders, stripping people of their citizenship and deporting them to places that practice torture. It could also mean curbs on the right to protest, which was recently upheld by the courts in the case of Extinction Rebellion. In the event of a No Deal and civil unrest, more repressive measures will no doubt be contemplated. For the Tories, rights are not universal protections afforded to the vulnerable, but a privilege for the right sort of British citizen; another tool to sow division between “us” and “them”.
This is not the country I love. Vote Conservative 2019 and vote for more death and poverty, inequality and division. A Tory victory, coupled with a Hard Brexit, will give the elite all the excuses they need to strip back all the pay and conditions, environmental regulations as much as they want. The polls show a Tory lead at the moment , but it's shrinking, keep exposing the Tories for what they are, it's not to late to stop them before it's too late. We are on the cusp of changing the course of British history, for the benefit of generations to come.
 This election is a real chance to sweep aside the Tories and finally put an end to almost a decade of austerity, protecting the NHS and ending the climate of racism that is currently fostered  and to prevent climate catastrophe.Forget about the bloody weather and  get out and vote for change and a society, we can all be proud off. Give hope a chance. Kick out Johnson and the bloody Tories. Another world is not only possible, it's within our grasp. Imagine the delight of seeing Johnson become the shortest-serving prime minister since 1827. A labour victory under Jeremy Corbyn, that would leave us with a Christmas we could really look forward to.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

International Human Rights Day :10 December 2019

International Human Rights Day is marked  on 10 December worldwide.This year's theme for Human Rights Day is Youth Standing Up for Human Rights. The United Nations, in its website, says it is "capitalizing on the momentum" gained after a year marked by the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also said that the UN is "spotlighting the leadership role of youth in collective movements as a source of inspiration for a better future."
The United Nations, through this year's theme, said they want to celebrate the youth's potential as "constructive agents of change" and have a large number of people help in promotion and protection of rights.
 Climate change is a serious threat to children’s rights. We must take Climate Action now.  Young people are at the front of the climate crisis movement, but may soon have to contemplate a more profound rebellion because, as pointed out by Greta Thunberg as she arrived for COP25, they are not being listened to despite the millions of school students who have taken to the streets. Students in Hong Kong are waging what will most likely become a life-and-death-struggle against Chinese authoritarianism. The recent Hong Kong elections show they have overwhelming support. Their brave and sustained protest is as catalytic in the global fight for democracy as the role played by the young people in South Africa in 1976. Don’t be misled by the occasional US or British flags, it’s democracy and rights — not neoliberalism and inequality, they already have that — the students want.
While some human rights defenders are internationally renowned, many remain anonymous and undertake their work often at great personal risk to themselves and their families. Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
  And ever since that auspicious day it has stood as the first major stride forward in ensuring that the rights of every human across the globe are protected. From the most basic human needs such as food, shelter, and water, all the way up to access to free and uncensored information, such has been the goals and ambitions laid out that day.
  "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads. "They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
  A milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
 When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration, with 48 states in favor and eight abstentions, it was proclaimed as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations", towards which individuals and societies should "strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance".
 Although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. It has helped shape human rights all over the world.
 Today the general consent of all United Nations Member States on the basic Human Rights laid down in the Declaration makes it even stronger and emphasizes the relevance of Human Rights in our daily lives.The High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the main United Nations rights official, plays a major role in coordinating efforts for the yearly observation of Human Rights Day.
Human Rights Day reminds us that there is much to be done  and around the world to protect those who cannot voice or respond to perpetrated discrimination and violence caused by governments, vigilantes, and individual actors. In many instances, those who seek to divide people for subjective means and for totalitarian reasons do so around the globe without fear of retribution. Violence, or the threat of violence, perpetrated because of differences in a host of physical and demographic contrasts and dissimilarities is a blight on our collective humanity now and a danger for our human future.
Human Rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. They should never be taken away, these basic rights are based on values such as dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. But human rights are not just abstract concepts, they are defined and protected by law.
 The aim of Human Rights Day is to raise awareness around the world of our inalienable rights – rights to basic needs such as water, food, shelter and decent working conditions. In the UK we are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998, however in other countries, especially developing countries, the laws are not in place to protect people and to ensure that their basic needs are met.
For millions of people, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still just a dream.Many people around the world are still denied the most basic of human rights on a daily basis. Women’s rights are still repeatedly denied and marginalised throughout the globe, despite 70 years of the milestone declaration on human rights. Confronted with widespread gender-based violence, hate and discrimination, women’s well-being and ability to live full and active lives in society are being seriously challenged.
Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are still  problems prevalent in all societies, and discriminatory practices are widespread, particularly regarding the  targeting of migrants and refugees. including in rich countries where men, women and children who have committed no crime are often held in detention for prolonged periods. They are frequently discriminated against by landlords, employers and state-run authorities, and stereotyped and vilified by some political parties, media organizations and members of the public.
Many other groups face discrimination to a greater or lesser degree. Some of them are easily definable such as persons with disabilities, stateless people, gays and lesbians, members of particular castes and the elderly. Others may span several different groups and find themselves discriminated against on several different levels as a result.
Those who are not discriminated against often find it hard to comprehend the suffering and humiliation that discrimination imposes on their fellow individual human beings. Nor do they always understand the deeply corrosive effect it has on society at large.
Nearly a billion people do not have enough food to eat, and  even in wealthier countries like the UK and the US where there is an increasing growth in food banks. Poverty is a leading factor in the failure to protect the economic and social rights of many individuals around the world. For the half of the world population living on less than $2.50 a day, human rights lack any practical meaning.
 In 2018, when marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Kumi Naidoo, the outgoing Secretary-General of Amnesty International, lamented that “if the leaders of the world were called upon to sign the UDHR today, they would be unable and unwilling to put human rights at the centre of global governance. Such a declaration would be impossible today”.Naidoo made this comment because Amnesty International in well placed to see how across the world, fundamental human rights are under attack.
Jails and cemeteries are filling up with human rights activists once more.But what’s unusual is that it’s not just happening in China, Russia or North Korea, but in countries that are outwardly democratic.
In India, described as the world’s largest democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is unapologetic as he propagates a hate-inciting extreme Hindu nationalism that tramples over Islam and other religions; annexes whole regions such as Kashmir and sanctions so-called “encounter killings”. At least five globally respected human rights lawyers are in prison, and more than 4,000 NGOs have had their licenses revoked.
Giving a lecture in the safety of Oxford University, veteran journalist Sagarika Ghose pointed out that the most “basic freedoms are under threat” and that “soon to be a journalist will be criminalised”. Her warnings are echoed by esteemed writers such as Arundathi Roy who in a recent article warns of a “shadow world… creeping up on us in broad daylight”.
In Turkey, President Recep Erdogan has used the “war on terror” as the pretext for a massive and globally unprecedented (at least in the democratic world) clampdown on civil society. According to Turkish activists 30,000 people are being held in pre-trial detention or have been convicted (they say 15% of all those in prison are there for offences of terrorism). A further 70,000 are on trial; 155,000 are being investigated by the police, but have not yet been prosecuted. Even the honorary
Chairperson of Amnesty International in Turkey, Taner Kılıç, is on trial and seems likely to be imprisoned.
In Brazil, indigenous land rights activists, trying to protect the world’s treasure of the Amazon, are being murdered, adding to the toll of an estimated three land activists a day who are losing their lives somewhere in the world.
In Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi activists are under attack. And so the story goes on… from continent to continent, from country to country. It is hard to imagine that an era that began with the Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall is ending with new walls going up all over the world.
In UN-talk what we are witnessing across the globe is politely described as “shrinking civic space”. They should be using other less euphemistic words: put another way, it’s the water-boarding of democracy.
This global clampdown on hope is sanctioned by big men with blond mops, misogynistic sexualities, guns. Truth-manglers such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk gently egg it on, as Sacha Baron Cohen so angrily yet elegantly pointed out recently.
 For this  Human Rights Day we must continue to  stand with all people targeted for giving expression to the vision and values embodied in the declaration. Every day must be Human Rights Day, as every person in the world is entitled to the full and indivisible range of human rights every day of his or her life.Global human rights are not selective in their value or meaning, nor are they limited to a day or time of year. Until all people have access to these human rights we must stand up, advocate for, and insist that more must be done. Human Rights Day should serve as a reminder to act for those lacking basic rights each and everyday. 
  Human Rights Day calls on us all to ‘stand up for someone's rights today!’ It reminds us what we have achieved over the years to respect, promote and protect human rights. It also asks to recommit and re-engage in championing these rights for our shared humanity since whenever and wherever humanity's values of equality, justice and freedom are abandoned, we all are at greater risk.
It’s important to acknowledge that human rights, have rarely been gifted to us through benevolent leaders. Rather, they have been won after long fought battles and collective struggle. We need to recognize and pay tribute to human rights defenders the world over, putting their lives on the line for others, our voice must be their voice. Lets work to achieve a better life for all. And more importantly, to continue to take a stand for people whose human rights are still not being met across the globe, find a way to use our voices for those who may not have an opportunity to advocate for themselves.  On Human Rights Day, let us remind ourselves that all human beings are equal in dignity & rights. In any civilized society, protection of human rights is most important. We need to create conditions, where people’s rights are protected and all can live a life of dignity.
 Just two days before the general election, party leaders have been asked to celebrate international Human Rights Day by pledging to safeguard the Human Rights Act 1998. A letter organised by the British Institute of Human Rights and endorsed by more than 100 organisations including lawyers groups, Liberty and Justice, calls for a commitment 'to protecting universal human rights in the UK'.
The signatories note the Human Rights Act draws on the universal rights set out in the 71-year old Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'setting legal standards to protect people across the UK whether they are in hospitals or care homes, social services or places of detention, housing or schools'.
Following the election, 'many decisions will need to be made about what sort of country we want to be, going forward, and what relationship people have with those we place in power'.
It concludes: 'We ask you to stand firm on our hard-won freedoms. We ask you to stand firm on ensuring that our Human Rights Act remains an integral part not just of our constitutional arrangements, but also of people’s everyday lives, enabling us all to live with equal dignity and respect.'
The Conservatives have been accused of attempting to water down the Human Rights Act after announcing vague plans to "update" the legislation in their election manifesto. The 59-page blueprint, launched by Boris Johnson  on Sunday, contains a promise to "update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government".
The pledge comes after the the prime minister vowed to end prosecutions of ex-soldiers accused of murder during the Troubles in Northern Ireland , which would involve amending the act to exclude deaths before the legislation came into force in October 2000.
Tory MPs and members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have long called for an end to prosecutions of veterans over killings during the Troubles, in an attempt to protect the armed forces from vexatious prosecutions.
But such a change to domestic legislation could put the UK at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights, according to legal experts.
Buried on page 48, the 2019 manifesto contains a single mention of the party’s pledge to “update” the 1998 HRA, which brings the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic law. It doesn’t specify what an update looks like, or when it will happen (beyond “after Brexit,” which isn’t much of a clue). The text is not bold; nor italic. The language is euphemistic and vague, indicating that the update will “ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.” This is not a pledge intended to draw attention.
.We’ve known for years that the Conservatives want to undermine the Human Rights Act that safeguards our individual freedoms, and their manifesto confirms it. Remember too that their discredited and racist hostile environment has ruined lives and destroyed people’s trust in the services they need.
 As thousands of struggles have proved, human rights are a vital lever in the quest for equality and social justice. If governments will no longer protect human rights it will be up to us, the people to keep on fighting for them and ensure our human right are always upheld. If you do nothing else, make sure you vote. Find your local polling station and vote like your rights depend on it.