Monthly Archives: September 2014

Transformative Power within British Politics #election15

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Never cut what you can untie

“No knot unties itself – every knot what once straight rope”

 

Today is the New Moon in Libra, so it seems like an auspicious moment to open new discussions (new moon) about the political relationships we have in Britain at the moment.  It helps, I’ve found, to review what lessons emerged during the last moon cycle beginning in Virgo. Virgo is the sign of service to others and it concluded with some fascinating lessons in contemporary British politics in this year of 2014.  And then there’s what Pluto in Capricorn / Uranus in Aries have been doing…. but this is not intended to be an astrology blog. What I am attempting to model in this blog is my own version of Polymathic learning; this means I bring all my funded wisdom to bear on the problem. Whether you ‘believe’ in astrology or not is of supreme indifference to me; as a student of the subject for 45 years plus, my own experience informs me. Let other astrologers with an interest in the outer planets’ impact on our human collective comment on what is going on for those who are interested. For my own part, this astrological information helps me understand where we are in untying the knots of British politics when we find ourselves in mid-transformation.

 

Cameron on IndyRef BBC

BBC reporting David Cameron

So what does this transformation look like in real terms? The biggest indicator, last month, was the Independence referendum in Scotland. That the result came about with an almost 90% turnout of registered voters from a highly-franchised electorate is extremely telling and when coupled with the fright a potential Yes vote evoked in our London ‘leaders’, clearly something is afoot within the political relationships of Britain. The rapidly rising membership of the Scottish National Party gives credence to my astrological suspicion that any British political transformation is far from over. As a member of the English precariat, this gives me hope because there is surely none for the likes of me in present British party politics.

 

For example: Once all the main political parties in Westminster recovered from the shock that the Scottish people might give them the finger, their notion of “service to others” resulted in Scotland being subject to some of the worst political threats  to the collective, using false promises laden with emotional/fiscal ‘gaslighting‘, probably courtesy of Cameron’s nudge unit, that the parallels with patterns of abuse in domestic violence were hard to ignore. This was concerted and remarkably united bullying aided and abetted by ALL the British mainstream media, with a single Scottish exception amongst the papers and a handful journalists with integrity on Channel 4, and still 45% of enfranchised Scots still gave Westminster the finger.

 

So how long has it taken for the real reason Westminster wanted a No vote from Scotland to fall out of the dark closet of British politics? Less than a week. If you want to understand Westminster’s idea of service to others, you only have to follow the money.

 

The remarkable success of democracy in Scotland has not occurred in a political vacuum. Astrologically speaking, these transformations have been in progress for some time now at a UK level also; in England, the changes have been harder to see because Westminster’s control of English political narrative is ‘supreme’ within the mainstream. They can, however, be seen in the social media via those active in confronting the terrible and murderous effects Coalition austerity is having on the poor, socially-exiled and excluded within our communities. I can’t even begin to name all of them because the attacks upon us are so widespread and diverse. These attacks of government upon the population they were elected to serve have been continuous over a 5-year period. As someone who has been subjected to these systemic attacks, where my very life was in the balance, I am looking for the political will to not only end this cruelty but to also try healing it. If there were ever a time ordinary English people needed lawful representation in politics, it is now. In the past, we could look to Labour to, at the very least, try. So how is the Labour Party doing in the electorate-relationship stakes?

 

Lab14 01In the last few days, the Labour Party parliamentary party has set out its stall for the general election next year, presumably in exchange for certain MSM support. Amongst the ‘special offers’ is the freezing of child benefit and the removal of Cold Weather payments to our pensioners. In exchange for MSM support, Labour clearly intends continuing the ‘tough on welfare’ policies so enthusiastically pursued by our present government.

 

Let me just turn and ask the lasses feeding their children by foodbank what they think of that ‘special offer’ then; and let me ask our elders how they feel about Labour helping them stay cold in winter. Since the majority of our impoverished elders are women too, it seems that women are to remain economic punching-bags for the red-rosetted version UK’s austerity merchants. It would appear that Westminster merely offers a different packaging; the actual product… and its horrific consequences… remains unchanged.

 

It’s interesting to consider the pressure being placed upon the English electorate to return to some feudalistic nightmare of our corporate / plutocratic elite, where profit comes before human life (seriously, check out what David Hencke is saying in that link!), and where PR is more important than substance. When I refer to the next general election as a ‘Life or Death’ vote – given the unanimity of Westminster policies being foisted upon us – it is with good reason and is supported by the facts. Which, interestingly, returns the subject to Pluto and the issue of transformation.

 

As with every transformation within the collective, the process involves a new and creative energy challenging an old and outmoded system as the new struggles to grow and evolve. With each struggle, those involved strengthen their abilities whilst the regressive energies become more rigid and totalitarian. The experience of social activists over the last five years of Coalition rule will have informed the Yes campaign and I imagine the experience of the Indy Ref continues to open the eyes of certainly more than the 45% in Scotland as I write. Here we are seeing ‘new’ ideas about service to others that involve alleviating the harm already inflicted, even if we don’t agree with everything being suggested.

 

BG7TxswCQAAAkMP_jpg_largeAs a general rule, to be on the side of ‘history’ during a transformational process is to choose Life. The old ways are in their death throes because no future is left in them or, at least, no future worth living for our children and grandchildren. For people like me, the old way of Westminster politics will kill us, in my own case the timetable measured in days or weeks; whether by systemic attrition or my own hand. The ‘Life or Death Election’ is quite real to us and we face it, in our living, every single day. This means the social structure has already collapsed at the very bottom of British society. In the last five years, this collapse has risen quickly; first, for the working classes but it has now started affecting the middle-classes too.

 

All these guys care about is money. They don’t care about society. They certainly don’t care about jobs and they don’t care about you.

OK, you might say, but this has always been going on. But it hasn’t. This sort of utterly amoral screw-everyone capitalism has become much more prevalent in the last 15 years. Our financial elite is now totally out of control. They learned nothing from the crisis, except that the rest of us were stupid enough to give them a second chance. And, now, having plucked all the “low hanging fruit,” they’re destroying the middle classes for profit.

Our current problems have their roots in the early 80s. While much of what Reagan and Thatcher did was necessary, the trouble is that they set a deregulatory train in motion which, over the last couple of decades has dismantled so much of the legal framework that protected us from greedy scuzzballs.

The middle classes went along with it. We were sick of the Left, tired of powerful unions and, besides, very few us could remember the inequality of the 1920s that gave rise to many of these regulations in the first place. Also, vain fools that we were, we identified upwards. We thought the elite had our interests at heart. The 0.1% must have found this pretty cute. They knew the truth. We weren’t their pals, we were just at the end of the line for the financial blood-letting.

“Why aren’t the British middle-classes staging a revolution?”: Daily Telegraph

Here, at a new moon interested in the British political collective relationship,

Alice Walker on power

we now know exactly what the present incumbents intend to deliver to an electorate they think they can control. When I look as the astrology of the situation, however, I see transformation regardless of how we might feel about it, and our only choice is whether we choose Life or not.

Speaking as someone who understands this choice only too well, there is one thing I would like to see when I come to vote in the election. I want to see a candidate on my ballot paper who stands for the belief that my life has a value beyond just money, their personal career path or the inhuman interests of corporate profit. In fact, I’d like there to be a such a candidate in every single constituency in the country, so that folk like me have a genuine choice.

I’m not bothered about previous party affiliations; I’m interested in a candidates who will actually serve the folk they represent and not their own personal narcissistic interests.  I’m interested in candidates with experience of real life and not just the privileged university-manipulated politics of millionaire wannabees. Nor am I willing to listen to those who counsel ‘waiting just a little longer whilst the elite ‘catch up’ with the people’; I’ve waited far too long already and still no change.

Media lessons

My responses find a similar resonance with the Electoral Reform Society and I can’t help believing that there is an English, Welsh and Northern Irish equivalent of the Scottish 45%. Astrology suggests you exist but there needs to be a change in how we relate to each other in order to access it.

As far as I am concerned, listening to those who have been systemically excluded from political debate might be a good place to start. The existing Westminster establishment and their corporate cronies can’t hear us; the mainstream media will only tell us what the Westminster  establishment want us to believe because… owners and other ‘private’ interests. If the people of Britain really want a genuine choice of Life at the next election, we’re going to have to put it there ourselves.

To put ourselves into alignment with the astrologically transformative energies currently at work in Britain, it’s time to start learning how to ask the right questions of what is really needed by those who face this Life-or-Death-by-Government, and then LISTEN to our answers!

And if we continue to do nothing? Westminster’s present party political system offers voters a choice of  various shades of the same old tune, on a scale starting at ‘utterly horrendous’ and ending in ‘catastrophic’ for anyone who isn’t a member of a rapidly shrinking elite, and not just for Britain either. This is a global phenomenon.

Seriously, do you really want to sit around doing nothing while the world goes to hell in a handbasket in order to satisfy the infinite greed of a dangerously selfish few? Is that really what you want for your children and grandchildren? Or do you belong to the Spirit of 45?

4 levels of questions

 

 

 

Women Prisoners: Speaking Truth to Power

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What a man is like

Sirius Black: the prisoner of Azkaban

About a week ago, Toni Wood, a Criminology PhD student, asked a twitter friend for recommendations to blogs by former women prisoners and I noticed her request as it came onto my timeline. She was wanting material to give to her students. I can resist anything but temptation so, as a former management trainer and formerly “dangerous” woman prisoner with some bitter experiences of research into women prisoners, I bit. Whilst I don’t restrict pawprintsofthesoul to prison issues, there are prison-experience blogs in my archives and one of them threw psychological research of women prisoners to a pride of hungry lions. It’s an interesting test of a criminologist’s character, that blog; how they respond tests their professional ethics on a number of different levels.

Firstly; there is a personal response. Do they believe me or do they think I’m making it up? How do they respond to a former woman prisoner speaking out the way I did in that blog? How would they feel, as a professional working inside a women’s prison if a woman prisoner spoke out that way to them personally? Toni is the kind of criminologist who says “That’s exactly what I’m looking for!” and later, when I inquired of her success in finding blogs, she invited me to guest lecture her students sometime in 2015. This is a CJS (Criminal Justice System) professional I can do business with any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I’ve said yes, providing my heart is up to it – I’ve recently experienced indicators of further heart failure and it’s around the same time of year as the last two times.  Since I can’t assume upon my earthly presence even unto next year, I might just as well start my guest lecturing now.

The second ethical test in the blog is about the kind of power Sirius Black understood in theory but struggled, like many, to put into practice especially with Kreacher. There is a very clear choice to be made in the Criminology ‘biz’, from police to probation, having passed through the courts and, in my case, almost five years of prison; can you see the human being beneath the labels or not? Are you open to learning or are you likely to be unsuited to working with women prisoners? This is a vitally important issue for women prisoners at the moment.

My imprisonment ended with sentence in 2010, just before this Coalition government came to power. The Criminal Justice System may have benefited from having Ken Clarke at the helm for a while but the ravages wrought by Grayling have turned the HMPS Mens’ Estate into a hellhole. I notice a deafening silence from the Women’s Estate (as usual) which will mean conditions are worse and will have deteriorated significantly since my departure. Google “prison conditions, England and Wales” – see for yourself. If Toni’s students have notions about working with women prisoners, let’s make it very plain what you are about to walk into. Whatever you think you know about prison, or prisoners, you don’t – unless you’ve been a woman prisoner. Every woman who has ever been held in prison has a degree-level experiential knowledge of how the CJS really works; long-term women prisoners have experiential doctorates of reality in it and black/brown/foreign national/Muslim women prisoners have the most thorough knowledge of all. They know a great deal more than I do. I hope, by sharing this information, some of my former black women prisoner friends might feel inspired to offer up their own unique dose of authentic reality in order to smash through the inevitable preconceptions people bring to the realms of feminine criminology in England and Wales in 2014.

Let’s be clear on one thing, though. As our tales unfold, perhaps you’ll begin to understand the depth of the truth reported by Baroness Corston, that 80% of women in prison in England and Wales shouldn’t be there.

You students, imprisoned by your tutor to listen to me, are the future for these women. Toni opened a door for me to speak to you. Excuse me while I widen this doorway for all my peers who have something to say too. We’re tired of your tickboxes. They’re too small to accommodate us and remain sane. Corston said the Prison Service was a system designed by men for men. Well, continuing to implement that idea lawfully is going to run out in a few months. Ten years – that’s what Jean Corston gave us to change the prison/CJS system to accommodate women prisoner’s needs. When you get a chance to visit a real prison, take a look around and check out how well you think that plan is working out. Then ask yourself: what are you entering this profession for? To uphold it… or help to transform it? This is the truth I am speaking power to – our future and what you might help us make of ours if you could only learn to be kind.

The best professional, compassionate working standard I was ever was given by one of the very best woman prison officers I ever met (that HMP Low Newton had a huge bouquet of them but there were some stunning blossoms in HMP Durham’s F-Wing and New Hall’s Segregation Unit). We were chatting about the attitude and approach different prison officers had towards prisoners and she told me she treated the lasses the way she hoped all prison officers might treat her own daughter if she wound up inside. Whilst some might bridle at the assumed maternity, remember she was speaking in a deeply patriarchally-cruel environment. We were of a similar mature age too; for me, she was a good friend in need on more than one occasion. Any ‘sins’ committed are forgiven for her simple human kindness and concern. If you are youthful students, agewise (soul-wise is an entirely different matter), you will not be able to get away with that but the women prisoners you encounter will still be in need of the kindness inherent in her intent. If you can’t find it within you to allow the worst prisoner of all at least one chance to show you who she is now, rather than the money-spinning stories you’ve been ‘colonised’ into accepting as true, then you are not fit to work with women prisoners.

We all have our ‘stories’. They are not the same as the ones you believe to be true, especially if you’ve gleaned your notions from the mainstream media. It really isn’t a good idea to put too much faith in our MSM, .especially given the absence of journalistic ethics now seemling replaced by monetary favour, coupled with a crippled and corrupted Justice system overseen by the most right-wing monetary government coup in Westminster I could have thought possible. Ethics is no longer of any particular interest as far as the reach of their intent is concerned. This type of attitude pervades the CJS especially where women prisoners are concerned.

What kind of changes do you think the CJS needs to make to remedy the harm that’s been done? Or, alternatively, you could try something original and ask the lasses themselves what they think they need. Remember, my information is five years out of date – things have changed for the much worse since then.

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Oscar Wilde – convicted prisoner