Category Archives: Censorship

#DearCJSprofessionals We seem to have a very serious problem

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A few weeks ago, I had this idea about tweeting #DearDVPolice as a social media exercise in communication between police and public on the difficult subject of domestic violence. As you can see, from this blogpost (only just now un-password protected), I took the matter further because I have an interest in improving understanding between problem-solvers and those experiencing problems. The idea took off but soon belly-flopped when it got to @CollegeOfPolice, who leaped from huge enthusiasm to complete silence within a single afternoon. This was probably attributable to one of the many negative social labels I carry. Still, I gave them a couple of weeks to see if they’d get their act together and then said I was thinking of unprotecting the blog. “Go ahead” came the response “we welcome all kinds of ideas” as if they had never heard from me before. I felt as though I was dealing with “Dumb and dumber” because this behaviour lacked any real insight into the way women use the social media. It’s worth exploring this possibility again simply because results elsewhere have shown them to be effective.

From my CJS perspective, as a desister, there seem to be two schools of thought within the system at the moment. The first one – the school to which I belong – seeks to improve CJS ‘community relations’ from all sides. This includes identifying the problems, which leads to problem-solving whatever (or whoever) is getting in the way of effective lawful social solutions. For the purposes of this blog, I would confirm the existence of highly competent professionals across the entire CJS who adopt a similar approach. I’ve met them. They rarely have a problem with my desistance perspective because my intention is for the community to benefit. They are the most refreshing people you could wish to meet even though most say there is little they can do personally but tend to forget how powerful just listening can be.

The second learning mindset – this “School for Dumb and Dumber” – is the catalyst for this blog because it’s short-sighted approach is raising some very serious moral and ethical issues for the whole CJS, particularly in its attitudes to women. Bringing these out into the open where everyone can see them does, at the very least, define the problem because victims have the experience of how this system either failed or succeeded for them.

With regard to the issue of on-line abuse of women, the ‘second school’ is now making its attitudes very plain. What ‘Dumb and Dumber’ forget is that their ‘public policy’ now sets a social ‘standard’ of what is acceptable in the eyes of their ‘law’. The consequence produces a ‘virtual’ social sanction which permits the social-media abuse of women, both individually and collectively, and which completely ignores any evidence of the harm this ‘policy’ is actually causing the victims. In the matter of on-line bullying and stalking, the School of Dumb and Dumber transform the UK social media into a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to graphically abuse women until they are ‘dead’ or in hiding and to collude with blaming victims who object to it. Please bear in mind that the distinctions between on-line and real death are now extremely blurred – we already have a death count for this stuff. Whilst the prohibition of psychological torture is recognised as absolute in human rights law, its standard is not being applied by those responsible for UK law enforcement within the social media. With each failure to contain the problem, the danger of lethal violence towards women grows in real life with the end result of this ‘public policy’ can be measured by the death toll.

There are people in the CJS who understand this but I’m not sure you quite ‘get’ just how serious it has become – not yet, anyway. This ‘blockage’ seeks to systematically silence the abused whilst letting the abusers off the hook. The way around the problem is to remove it for the victims by enabling them to talk to you directly. Some stuff will be uncomfortable to hear; some may leave professionals feeling defensive but if we’re willing to give it a try I think we all might learn a very great deal in the process, particularly as to whether some CJS policy decisions can be reasonably regarded at lawful.

I’d like us to start having a conversation about what we can do to put a stop to what is going on here because I suspect this School of Dumb and Dumber are now way over a legal line they were never supposed to cross.

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Reflections on living with #FootInMouth Disorder

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It’s a feeling I’ve known all my life – it’s called ‘Me and my Big Mouth’. It’s an all too familiar experience: I say something back and suddenly the ‘group hum’ around me falls into silence, whilst I get a ‘well-meaning’ shhhh or “you’re not supposed to say/do/think that” from someone who thinks they’re only in the audience. Well, what’s done is done and I need to honour the woman who did it.

 

It was an interesting experience – going back to re-read it the first time. All I could see was my own racism but then I would be surprised if it wasn’t there – it was a part of the becoming-conscious zeitgeist of the generation I was born into. Rosa Parkes refused to move to the back of the bus a week before my first birthday. It means I was raised as both a part of the problem but with the Spirit of Refusal still powerful in my country. We said No to fascism in the same way we said no to racism in our minds but failed to see that it forms a part of who we – my generation BRar4ZWCQAISl7Y– are. Every generation is time-limited in what we can deal with. I see it very clearly in my own mother as her intolerance levels increase and, now, as I see my own increase too. It is a painful experience but it is not insurmountable.

 

The group process I sought to interrupt by my intervention contains no possibility of redemption or forgiveness. NO human being has the ‘right’ to create an energy devoid of these qualities because to do so is to usurp and corrupt the Law of the Sacred. It does not matter what colours are in play here – this Law holds True in every authentic expression of the Divine I have ever had the privilege to meet, atheism included. I don’t have a problem with withholding or putting provisos on how we – as humans – earn that forgiveness. I do have a problem with unforgiving behaviour – regardless of who is indulging in it. I will not tolerate it with silence – this is why I speak. All I speak is my own personal truth – let others speak for themselves.

 

I am more than happy to ‘check my white privileges‘ – as more than one commenter has already suggested. So tell me: now that I’ve confessed my sins, which way does pathway to redemption lie? What do I have to do to redeem myself? And what does it say about your ‘demands’ if all I can do to achieve this is to cease my existence? There is always a path to redemption in a mentally healthy world – even atheists know that. Those who disagree with me are free to do so in my reality but they also have to leave me alone with my own opinions. I am willing to agree to disagree. I’m more than willing to learn but I find that ability is becoming more difficult as I grow into becoming the past – I’m sure I can ‘book’ myself another lifetime where I get to learn this stuff properly. At the moment, I’m stuck with what

Margaret Beckett - the invisible woman

Margaret Beckett – the invisible woman

I’ve been able to achieve so far. I know I’m only at the beginning but placing me in a projection that allows no path to redemption – a Catch-22 – is not on in my reality. If that is exercising ‘white privilege’ then it’s about time the other Colours of the Medicine Shield caught up with the privileges of their own colours. There are honourable women in all colours – I know because I’ve met you – and there seems to be a consensus amongst the wisest that adding more racism to an already bubbling pot will not cure the problem.

 

No I’m not the way you think I ‘ought’ to be. I’m the way I am when I’m doing my best to make room for new ideas in an aging mind. I judge myself fairly close to death at the present time – whether that ‘death’ be physical or circumstantial – so I place few fetters on what I ‘permit’ myself to say. I might as well go to my death speaking my truth – however ‘wrong’ other people think I might be. The comments arriving on my blog cannot reflect the whole of me – a part of the projection will be accurate. There is a lot I have left to evolve. But the rest? These are reflections of the speaker – these people don’t know me. We are a mixed bag of ‘truths’ – it is what we extrapolate from those ‘truths’ that I question.

 

BQqr0iKCAAA4_XQI’m not talking to those who don’t want to hear me. The world is a big enough place for us to co-exist together, or it ought to be. It isn’t. I’m all for growing the relationship between us but I don’t have to listen to abuse. Abuse is where there is no forgiveness. Whilst there maybe some truth in the need to express how we feel about the experiences we have been subject to, that does not earn us the privilege of abusing others unless it’s for learning purposes only. To abuse for it’s own sake is a hate crime – I have to oppose hate crime, even if I’m the one you are hating. Somewhere in the mob you assemble around me are people capable of waking up. Those are the sisters I’m talking to – and it’s their free choice whether they choose to listen, just as it is their free choice whether they choose to forgive me. This is what haters try to control. They tell us there is only one way to think and we must all agree with them or cease to exist. This is an envious attack. The only answer to envy is gratitude.

 

So, I am grateful to this group process for being such familiar ground as I reflect on BQYSD-wCAAAfdU6the outcome of my foot-in-mouth experience. I have been attacked in this way all my life and I’ve learned that the way to survive it is to be true to myself and what wisdom I can fund for myself in the moment. All I have left is myself. If I am being informed that the only contribution I can make to life is by ceasing to exist – something I have been ‘told’ many times – then this belief needs to be tested. I apologise for your inconvenience but the Great Spirit doesn’t seem to be willing to oblige you. This means I have as much ‘right’ to exist as you. It doesn’t make me ‘better’ but it certainly doesn’t make me worse. If you expect me to collude with yet another power game, you’ve chosen the wrong woman. I don’t agree with you. Now lets see if you can leave me alone. I’ll continue reflecting on my experience and you do whatever it is that is right for you. We met – we taught – we parted. I am very grateful for the lesson because it has enabled me to discover whether some of my old emotional pathways still worked.

 

Often women – all women – are forced into positions where we must carry the consequences of the ‘shadow’ of others. That is what I think this eruption of woman power is about. Responsibility must return to those who are responsible and mutual responsibility begins with mutual respect – regardless of the human being we are dealing with. Nevertheless, we are all emerging from a highly abusive human system and the vast majority of us have been damaged by it in some way or another. It is said, among suicides, that it is not the psyche that wishes to die, it is that the Soul wishes some aspect of Life to die. To perform an act of suicide is to 486106_343164372454404_1533168654_nturn our killer instinct upon ourselves, so I am familiar with this aspect of myself. For those who can sense my killer instinct at work now, please understand this. When it comes to racism – or any kind of bigotry – it’s the system that causes it I want dead; not people. Turning our killer instinct on others only exacerbates our collective problems. If you want my dead body to crow your success over, go ahead! Have it! But you’ll have to join the end of the queue. I’ll die when I’m supposed to die but, whilst I’m still here, I’ve had it with people trying to hurry that process along. It’s a murderous intention and I will have no part of it.

 

The walk across the fields of my emotions back to the light, after an envious attack, always begins with me feeling like a lone survivor in a nuked city. There is nothing left standing or alive, apart from myself. All my emotional nerve-endings are laid bare and, as a child, I could find myself abandoned in this emotional wilderness for long periods of time. The world I learned to inhabit was as monochrome as the TV’s I grew up with. Apart from a very brief experience of ‘life in colour’, I didn’t learn how to leave this world until I was thirty and went into therapy. Over the seventeen years that followed – in both individual and group therapy – I learned that the way back to life is through balance. My internal or psychic devastation is caused by the impact of an idea that I have no worth or that I have committed some heinous and unforgivable sin. The very fact that the idea has impacted upon me actually proves this ‘idea’ false – it is a paradox. Only those capable of walking in balance – no matter how out of balance we may be when this idea-projectile hits – have this experience. Those who launch such ideas are apparently unaffected by them, so utterly convinced are they of their own ‘rightness’. This is what is known as self-righteousness – the inability to BPkBnxwCYAAiAvHperceive and/or repression of another’s viewpoint. True righteousness is only understood through behaviour – self-righteousness is an idea that we know better than other people. Those who are able to experience the devastation caused by ‘cease-to-exist’ ideas are not the problem. What gets shattered is the onset of growth – the shattering represents the ‘death’ experience – we can emerge changed. The real problem, however, is that many don’t because they believe the lie. People who are forced to live in such ideas or ‘memes’ die early, in my experience, because they can’t find their way back to the light. This is what concerns me.

 

In a world that consists of true Love, the shattering caused by ideas that we have no worth must be challenged because they are lies. This is not true. It is not even true in Hell. Our path back to our new wholeness is paved by everything we have said or done on the way into the experience. It doesn’t matter who we are. As far as tumblr_m7f5b0Rgak1qz4d4bo1_500I know, this applies to everyone but for any of us genuinely affected by idea that we have no worth, the way back is through evidence. What evidence can we produce that the heart of this missile in ourselves is a lie? We’re not trying to reach perfect – that’s not possible in my reality – we’re trying to reach ‘good enough’ – the point of balance. This is my way of doing it and it works.

 

Demand, from the ‘voices’ that attack you, that they tell you something good about yourself. If they can’t – they are bigotted and it is reasonable for you to ignore them. Until they can produce evidence of your worth, then they are attacking your existence. Look for evidence in the behaviour of your existence for the truth. Whilst our beliefs don’t have to be true for anyone else but ourselves, the measure of our true worth lies in our behaviour. We’re looking for evidence that we know how to learn from our mistakes. If the evidence is there, then watch for signs of growth to lead you out of the devastation to where your heart needs to take you. Don’t be afraid to own your mistakes – they are our greatest teachers – they are both our way in and our way out because we live them. Our mistakes balance our ‘good’ with our humanity.

 

These pathways may not work for everyone – these are the ones that work for me. They remind me that no matter what other people may think, what’s important is my relationship with what is Sacred. Other people don’t get to define that for me. If we are at all personally responsible – we have to define it for ourselves and then live by that decision. It’s a matter of Free Will. In my reality, that means I reserve the right to disagree with hatred in whatever form it takes. Nevertheless, I strive to agree to disagree because that is a matter of mutual respect.

 

Unless more lessons come from this process, I’ll probably leave the matter here. There are more interesting opportunities for grow appearing on my horizon that could bring practical benefit to sisters in genuine need. Hopefully. they won’t mind if the offer of practical help comes from a white woman’s hand.

 

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Women’s Solidarity is Multi-coloured: Why #Solidarityisforwhitewomen is wrong

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Dear Sisters of the #Solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag,

When I wake up to how I have been silenced – again – I tend to get a bit touchy when others start trying to do the same thing to me. It’s the same if we’ve been abused – in whatever form that abuse takes – remembering that abuse affects us all. There are abusers in every human culture – it’s an equal opportunity problem. In my own experience, there comes a point where some forms of abuse become completely intolerable and I run the danger of behaving very badly. I’m at that point now. I’ve had enough of it. From the looks of it, so have you. I ‘get’ how you must be feeling because my own seem similar. The only difference between us is that I may have more experience in dealing with such feelings than you have. Here’s why.

 

BRVocprCUAAIVRNSpending seventeen years in psychotherapy, three months in a psychiatric unit and nearly five years in prison has a way of leaving me rather ‘sensitive’ to being told who I am. I am a white woman, I am feminist and I tell you this, YOU WILL NOT DEFINE THE COLOURS OF MY SOLIDARITY.

 

You will not tell me who I am or what I am when you know nothing of me. I don’t know where you got your definition of solidarity from but it looks nothing like the one I have lived. I may not have lived my solidarity out where you could see it but it will be recorded in what I did in prison. When my Sisters of Colour needed help, I gave it. If there were problems of bigotry and prejudice – when I was there and could act – I did something about it, even if all that was left was to be a solace and friend in hard times. On those occasions where I appeared to do nothing, that’s because  I was respecting my Sisters’ boundaries. I know it’s true because I lived it. It’s what Sisters of Colours do in those situations: I DON’T CARE WHAT FUCKING COLOUR WE ARE – I CARE ABOUT HOW WE BEHAVE TO EACH OTHER!

 

*takes deep breath and counts to ten*

 

BRYvzp9CMAAVcyQYou ‘youngsters’ are about to make the same mistakes my own generation made. If you do, we are doomed to repeat them. Please stop and think for a minute.

 

If I’m treading on sensitive ground for you and it hurts a bit, then I apologise for that in advance but take a look at where you are on mine. I’m not hurling all my ancestors at you either (yet) – I’m simply talking to you as one human being to another. I am on the edge of an Abyss with you and I’d rather you didn’t fall in, unless you insist. In fact, I’m hoping I can help you climb out but you’re going to have to take that projection you seem to have about white women off me first please.

 

There is a Spirit Rule in Albion (this is where my ancestors square up to your ancestors) that when we point a finger of blame at others, three fingers point back at us. This is a useful tool to have in our awareness because it makes us careful about that we accuse others of being. There is ALWAYS a truth in a psychological projectionotherwise it doesn’t work. To break a projection, however, needs a human being – I’m volunteering in this instance because I won’t stand by and let you make the mistakes we made if talking back to you will stop it. The human race can’t afford such acting out anymore and this kind of unconscious mob-think needs to stop.

 

BQ0scBdCUAAiIrXNo, white women aren’t perfect. We’re not supposed to be. With all due respect, you’re not perfect either. White women have their place in this Medicine Wheel, whether other Sisters of Colours like it or not. This means that my Voice as an Elder has an equal right to be heard as that of Youth! I wish no harm to your fury and rage – that is to be honoured, respected and heard. What I am asking is that you adjust your target. I am not your enemy. Whilst you shoot your bullets at me, your true foe steals your goodness from you. No-one is supposed to be perfect and anyone who claims they are is a problem. That applies across all cultures. Healthy people understand respect, whatever shape, colour, spirit or culture their Spirit inhabits. That’s how I know that Solidarity is not just the property of white women. Solidarity belongs to the Medicine Wheel – She is all-colours.

 

You complain that I know nothing of your non-White experiences but fail to explain how I might correct the problem. How I’m supposed to learn how to do that? Live your life for you? This is not a reasonable demand and I reject it. Only you can live your lives and, from what I can see, you are our future. You are young. You have yet to learn than life has limitations; one of them being that we only get to live the life we are given. As a shaman, I believe that we earn bonus points for good behaviour BQrElk1CEAAvqOjin the Spirit World. The only bonus points we get from bad behaviour come when we learn the lesson and grow up into adults. Growing up is simply part of human experience. So you didn’t get what you wanted from white women and you never will. What you want is not possible in my reality. What I can tell you is that the neo-feminism you describe – which most certainly does exist and is only useful for tab papers in prison – does not apply to us all. I tend to the opinion that if we can’t explain ourselves in simple language, we still don’t know our subject well enough. I believe the women you describe speak only of theory. The feminism I know is the one I have lived as impeccably as it is possible for one individual woman to be, whatever colour she might be.

 

This is what I have learned that might help each and every one of you make up your own remarkable minds. The future is always bigger than the past. What my own generation had to learn seems to be instinctive in you. When I explored feminism I learned from all Sisters who used the same resonance of meaning. When I read outside my colour and culture, I found there were some things I couldn’t hear. Each time I listened, I learned more. I know there are words, spoken and written, that can only be understood within your own experience. The same is true for all of us – no-one gets to live our lives but us. Some experiences cannot even be spoken of. This is true for all of us. We are the sum – or gestalt – of our heritage, relationships and experience. In encounters like the hashtag, we offer certain fragments of ourselves. What aspects of your own self did you consign to the solidarity of white women alone? I saw bitterness, abuse, hurt, betrayal, abuse and envy in many of the tweets. This is good because it is the beginning of wisdom. I also saw erupting fury, biting wit and outrageous passion too. This is wonderful for this is creativity in action. Both Shadow and Light erupt into being and we acquire the ability to make new choices. Somehow, old chains cannot restrain the Spirit of Women anymore.

 

This choice of hashtag is both an error and a catalyst for learning, in my opinion. There are clearly some major issues to be re-understood between us but you may not use your collective power to abuse my white sisters solely on the grounds of bigotry. My true white feminist sisters refuse bigotry as stoutly as I do. We need you to make room in your imagination for women such as me, so we can actually function on our own terms in your experience. We always start with respect for difference, so it’s time everyone else checked their own privileges too. How free am BQrQcCxCEAAGKd6I to walk in your reality on my own terms, provided I walk with respect?

 

This is not about who you are. Who you are is a mystery on the point of unfurling. This is simply about your behaviour. We women have a massive problem in the world coming at us from every direction. Now is not the time for competition about who is valuable and who is not. Now is the time for discovering each other again and what new information your erupting generation is bringing to Women’s evolution. We can’t learn that if you’re busy dismembering colours from our Medicine Shield.

 

I’m not telling you to listen to me. The leaders for this next step in our evolution are to be found with Red Women – these are the prophecies belonging to the Medicine Shield and this is the Wisdom I am guided to heed as Truth. There are hidden secrets in all Colours of Shield Woman’s Wisdom; Black, Red, Yellow and White women and it is our Solidarity that holds us together. It is our humanity that holds us apart so we can see ourselves more clearly. Each one of us is unique. We all hold Wisdom, whoever we are but we can only access that wisdom through our individuality and the care we take of our target when we join an erupting crowd.

 

BQrVJ32CYAAsAFjAll these lessons I teach I learned the hard way. It might look easy but don’t be fooled – the Wisdom of the Medicine Shield is hard earned. People who have honestly come by such wisdom shine with their own authenticity. We know what it is to be both harmed and harmful. What we learn is simple: to treat others the way we would wish to be treated, until such time as one, or other, of us realises the person we are dealing with refuses to learn. It is at this point we find out about the stuff we are truly made of – do we struggle to escape or do we succumb to sleep and numb ourselves off?

 

My Sisters, the face you were showing to white women with your hashtag is a very powerful one for waking people up. Applied in more imaginative and thoughtful ways, but with full awareness of your responsibilities to our future, the powers you wield could benefit humanity enormously but to do this competently requires that you learn from your mistakes.

 

I return your soul fragments to you. They don’t belong to me and are not mine to keep. They are your true source of deep wisdom but be careful because some have sharp edges. I do not need yours – I have my own which seems to be growing well given the experiences I now find myself in.

 

As a parting, and only for those who would choose it; I have placed a Blessing Gift of Love for you in my Otherworld. Just say the word ‘Yes’ to receive it. How it works, I don’t know but I hope it gives us what we all are in most need of, in all individual realities: Love.

 

In Sisterhood and White Solidarity

 

Dee Wilde-Walker

 

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Idle No More UK

Thanks to Julienne for this picture.

Thanks to Julienne for this picture.

Precariat advice on dealing with closet fascists

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Yesterday, a fellow precariat posted this on the internet. I don’t know who this brother is or whether he has acted on his feelings but I know the rage he feels about how he has been treated because I feel much the same way when I am suicidal. If he has committed suicide, then his blog speaks the same language as Stephanie Botterill and Vicky Harrison. Indeed, if this brother does take his own life then, in truth, it might be a kinder ending than experienced by some in his position given the way the impoverished and homeless are treated by some in our community.

 

BIuqy41CEAIw50CLet’s be quite plain here – when the number of deaths, per week, due to Welfare Reform, had risen to 73 last October, we can make an educated guess which way those numbers have gone since the latest round of welfare cuts kicked in last April. This is murder-by-government.

 

When I worked as a psychotherapist I attracted, for some reason, a statistically-significant number of clients who were the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. The fact that my professional supervisor was German enabled me to deepen my knowledge of what went on under that facsist regime. During one discussion, I pointed out to her that there had been many other holocausts since and asked why, in her opinion, the German version was so bad. She replied that, for her, the fact that the wholesale murder of people had been done by an elected government – it had been systematic and ‘legal’ done in the name of an entire country’s people – therefore carried a far greater ‘weight of sin’. Whilst I wasn’t certain I agreed with her at the time – I hadn’t lived the experience then – it is much harder to disagree with her now. I mention this wisdom, learned over twenty years ago, because it has informed me ever since and might suggest that I know what I am talking about when I say that the British parliament is filled with fascists in all of our political parties.

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When we – anyone, really, not just precariats – is faced with others who believe our only value to our community is by being dead, one of the first things we might try is communication. This is a fascinating exercise for anyone who has tried it. In the UK, Spartacus tried. The outcome is detailed here and matches my own experience. True fascists avoid such conversations – even if they are ‘obliged’ by standards and rules to listen. It’s an interesting avoidance because, once we force the issue (usually following months of ignoring us), they switch the focus from content (“You are systematically killing people”) to ‘process’ (“You aren’t being polite so I’m not going to talk to you”). I’ve always been interested by the emphasis those with murderous intent place on politeness, although it’s taken me years to see how this process works well enough to put it into words.

 

There’s an example of this occurring at the moment. A collection of our church leaders in the UK have demanded an apology from Coalition ministers for their misuse of statistics as a means of demonising the poor. The same church leaders have worked hard, alongside other anti-poverty campaigns, to counter this propaganda but seem to be having as much success as Spartacus, the courts and the EU. It doesn’t matter how much evidence well-meaning people present; how many laws we enforce; how many petitions we sign or how many protests we attend – the government isn’t listening because it doesn’t want to.

 

What interests me is the peoples’ response. Speaking as a precariat, with my brothers and sisters unlawfully suffering and dying in their tens of thousands around me, I want to know when our ‘supporters’ are going to wake up to what is really going on around them and understand that apologies will never be enough. To truly apologise is to acknowledge our wrong-doing, provide restitution where possible and never commit that sin again. Show me the evidence that our parliamentarians understand this because, with the exception of a very few, I see no sign of such awareness. What I see are these ‘people’ not giving a toss for what anyone else thinks and carrying on regardless, whilst closing their minds on the grounds that we aren’t being polite. Exactly where does this behaviour fuck off in the minds of our middle-classes?

 

The Wannsee Conference (Berlin 1942) on the “Final Solution”…

“ushered in the final stage of escalation of the extermination policy – the incorporation of the whole of German-occupied Europe in a comprehensive programme of systematic annihilation of the Jews. The evolution of such a programme, once intiated as a planned operation, rapidly gathered pace in the spring…”

Ian Kershaw: “Hitler, the Germans and the Final Solution” 2008

Following the publication of the first of my precariat pieces, I came across a blog by Dan Silver which, in its own academic way, says that we will not achieve any meaningful social change without talking to those presently excluded from social discourse. As a precariat, I would agree entirely but for three reasons: firstly, precariats have experienced nothing but being ‘talked at’ scaled_full_c82403f5ec81a55b08fb– only the few actually listen; secondly, if you want us to listen to what you have to say, it might help if you started talking in plain English and, finally, any conversation has to be translated into action, otherwise why should we waste our time and intelligence with you?

 

There is a very big problem that gets in the way of any meaningful communication between various sections of our community and that resides in emotional intelligence and experience. Unless someone has actually experienced the underlying intent of our all-party UK government policy, you are going to have to take our precariat word and evidence that it is already murderous and many don’t ‘get’ this. Those in more comfortable circumstances (like having a sound roof over your head, a bed to sleep in and food to eat when you are hungry) won’t have experienced the feelings that erupt as a result of not having them. These are the people who complain about our precariat ‘attitude-problem’. To those I would say this – if someone is systematically trying to kill me, how the fuck am I supposed to feel?

 

workfare-stick-upAs a psychotherapist, I learned that anger is the healthy response to abuse. As a precariat, I am not supposed to express this anger, so what am I supposed to do with it? According to the fascist doctor I met in prison, I’m not supposed to feel anger at all! Well, that can fuck off for a start. In human terms, anger is the impetus enabling our ability to change things that are unhealthy for us. So when the comfortably-off chattering classes start bitching about my attitude, that tells me they don’t want anything to change that might affect them even slightly – like the discomfort of listening to those they have systematically silenced whilst colluding with our wholesale murder. You see, that’s the thing about precariats – we have a tendency to call a spade a fucking shovel.

 

Th problem continues closer to the precariat class too. The working class are getting hit as hard or, in some cases, harder (although I haven’t seen evidence that they are dying in the same numbers as precariats). They also have a history of organising themselves – which is what they are doing now. As a former Trade Union official, I’ll wave to my comrades of the People’s Assembly; recognise our common enemy; and then say this:

BKIsb8jCYAA0XQl“You are not going to change a fucking thing until you get right down to the bottom of society. Your Peoples’ Assembly fails to include the precariats because, hey, we’re going to cost you money to listen to us. You’re going to have to shell out for bus-fares to get precariats (and, for that matter, your poorest TU members) to your meetings. Perhaps you may need to feed us too. Remember that when you go out for a pint afterwards, if you want us there you’re the one that’s buying because we can’t afford to. In rural areas like mine, you may need to give me a lift back to my precarious home because the buses stop running early – or, if my worst imaginings come true, back to my tent if it’s still there when I get back. This isn’t some kind of socialist replay of ‘our glorious past’, we’re slap bang in the middle of a fascist government implementing wholesale murder.

 

scaled_full_3c3cdc5606510b56ed22Has the People’s Assembly got any plans for how to care for our existing homeless or is that something that can wait until our glorious revolution has been won? If that is what you are thinking, you’re as bad as the fascists and you’re still learning the lessons of how the German people ‘didn’t know’ about the Holocaust. ”

 

At this point, I would probably walk away from the mic because I would hope, at least, I’d been talking to folk who are half-awake and not closed down entirely. To carry on in that vein would meet my own definition of impolite.

 

The thing about true change or growth is that we have to start with grim reality and this is as true for personal as well as social transformations. For as long as the population is governed by what it chooses to believe rather than what is real, nothing changes. We have to be as disillusioned, disenchanted and authentic as we can be if we want to change the world. Those uncomfortable with my kind of authenticity are those who, at present, collude with murderers. For those who ‘getting’ what I am saying, take a look at this and then see how you feel. What you are feeling gets deeper and stronger the further down the social scale we live, because every other bloody class above us is saying the same thing whilst, at the same time, passing the buck of blame down too. To the rich, I’d like to say ‘I feel your pain’ but, hey, precariats have our own and it’s bigger, better and definitely more colourful than yours. To the rich, I’d say that I’ve never seen such a bigger bunch of incompetents than you and if that’s what your expensive education taught you, I’d be closing those establishments down. If all you can come up with is more of the same, get out of the fucking way so the people can do the job you refuse to do.

 

As a retired psychotherapist; as a practising shaman; as part of what I believe are my social responsibilities, I have to exercise tolerance but I tell you this – there is a moment where my tolerance for irresponsible social cruelty to others crosses a line into absolute refusal to play your game of social niceties. I hope inactive non-precariats start to feel deeply uncomfortable with my self-educated, intelligent and eloquent stare coming right back at you from the Abyss because you won’t change without it.

 

We can make changes right now to how we behave but those changes have to be authentic and meet a real need. Waiting until you’ve organised this; or prepared that report; or had a discussion; or whatever other delaying tactics you choose to employ is no damn use to anyone. If your imagination can’t stretch to what you, personally, could do why not take a few lessons from those who know how to.

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Who knows – one day you might discover that you were wrong about those you despised.

 

If nothing else, that would be a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

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Therapeutic Reflections: Weighing the Pro’s and Con’s

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Mothers Day

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What I’m about to express here needs to be weighed in the balance of fairness and truth because this information concerns two living human beings in opposition  – of which I am one. I was involved in the action, so we have to trust that I have made mistakes; I will be wrong; I have certainly been foolish; and I am probably guilty of any or all ‘accusations’ I may make about others despite how hard I strive not to be them myself – it happens unconsciously. I call it ‘being human’. Therefore the matter needs to be determined by those less self-interested observers. All I ask of my ‘judges’ is that I am not required to carry more than my own fair share of responsibility. Disputes between opposing factions need to be balanced in this way if we, as a species, are ever likely to find a way to live with each other peaceably, let alone continue our existence.

The opposition I speak of began here, continued here and was terminated yesterday, by me, when my opponent issued what I considered a threat. It is the reasons and intent underpinning my actions that I am interested in exploring here and this cannot be done without listening to my opponent first. But first I need to put some boundaries down.

You will see, from her blog, my opponent claims the right of confidentiality regarding the emails we exchanged. This was not discussed with me and, in fact, violates some ethical aspects of both my desistance and shamanic standards which require personal transparency. I experience such unspoken requirements as controlling because they operate in a way unsuited to me. Nevertheless, it is also true that I did not discuss my own position and it is customary to treat personal sharing as private between two people. When ‘confidentiality’ occurs between two therapeutic professionals, there is a requirement for supervision and it is this I am seeking. This ensures that mistakes and faults are identified in order to protect the most vulnerable within the dynamic and minimises potential abuses of controlling behaviour from either ‘side’. This blog meets my professional requirement for this. I am willing to meet my opponent’s need for confidentiality provided that she complies with her own rules. If the content of our emails finds its way into the social media, I will assume that she has consented to its release and will publish our exchanges because I believe they provide extremely useful consciousness-raising material for other women. In the event that the information arrives within the public-domain via some other source (ie: the release came from neither of us), then I am happy to discuss the matter with her but will assume that the shamanic spirit I aspire to emulate wanted it made public. This is my boundary.

It is not my intent to be the cause of any harm to my opponent, as she vividly reports herself. I have been harmed too often myself to have any wish to see it done to others, whether such harm comes from me, from others or from ourselves. My intervention, which she reports, is not unusual behaviour as I’m sure others can confirm if it ever became necessary. I believe it is important to confront harmful behaviour but it is equally important to protect the individual when doing so. No matter how I might feel personally about those who express personal differences so vast they appear alien, the Creator Spirit put them here on this Earth with me. If I have a right to be here so, too, do they and it is not for me to question the wisdom of creation. These are matters beyond my ability to understand – they are existential no matter how much I might struggle to accommodate this within my limited human awareness. In addition, I have my criminal offences to consider. I lost track of this understanding ten years ago – to remain within any rehabilitation process, I had better not lose track of it now!

So it was not the person that caused me to sever my contact with my opponent. What caused that was controlling behaviour.  Because I am bound by my confidentiality agreement, I cannot discuss my opponent here – so I have another example I can use to illustrate what I mean by ‘controlling’.

This example arose during my voluntary three month stay in a psychiatric unit following my first suicide attempt. It was my first experience of psychiatry and the ward was an example of the worst the profession can produce. One of the features of psychiatric illness is an absence of boundaries among patients. Given that this unboundaried experience is ‘in the field’ within psychiatric institutions, undifferentiated establishments are likely to be produce similar behaviour amongst the staff group too. A healthy establishment ensures properly therapeutically-supervised staff so such boundary breaches are identified and managed – nobody is perfect and everyone is learning. But this particular unit – in 2002 – was not managed well and the patients suffered serious over-prescribing of medication; unnecessary forceful restraint resulting in injury; ill-considered and punitive instructions; and, most of all, a failure to empathise with the needs of patients. The story of the psychiatrist who called me, as a patient, ‘You people’ did not come from this unit, but he could well have done. The level of unexplored prejudiced reporting by staff, in my case alone, was horrifying and I challenged it whenever it came to my attention. For a while, my fellow patients reported some improvements in their treatment but I doubt that these lasted, given the unwillingness of some staff to consider the points I was raising as having any validity.

At one point and after a series of abusive incidents by staff, I found myself in conversation with the Unit Manager and we explored her thinking when it came to patients – her approach being the ‘medical’ and mine, ‘therapeutic’. I encountered a ‘wall-against-learning’ when she informed me that she did not bring her heart into her work. Her heart, she told me, was firmly protected and professionally unavailable to patients. In other words, she confirmed my suspicions that her unit was professionally “heartless” and, in doing so, validated my experience as a patient.  Not all psychiatric units are managed in this way and the one I transferred to afterwards was much better because it used a therapeutic model where emotional intelligence could be accessed for everyone’s’ benefit.

When I reflect on that conversation, what I notice these days is the need for control. The difference between the Ward Manager and I is the difference between control and containment. We all have ‘containment’ needs – it is not healthy for any human being to be completely without boundaries because we are social animals. We need only look to crime or Parliament to see what occurs when humans become unboundaried, especially in our negative behaviour. There is, however, a universe of difference between containment and control.

Containment recognises that whilst harmful behaviour requires firm boundaries,  it is harmful to our individual soul-self to impose rules on who we are permitted to be. As humans, our internal experience of Life is grow to whatever size we are able to aspire to, usually with effort and support from others. Where natural boundaries enter the equations are in issues of manifestation. Manifest life is naturally boundaried when it is healthy. When manifestation, however, spins into unboundaried growth this is often referred to as some form of cancer. Uncontained cancer of the body results in death of the person – the same is true for uncontained human activity in the manifest world, especially when it is enacted on a global scale. For both, the issue concerns that which refuses to, or is unable, die. Cancer cells have lost the action of their ‘death instruction’ and, as far as I can see, the same is true for human societies – nothing and no-one lasts forever in manifestation. Physical life is boundaried by death. Only Spirit can claim access to a boundless eternity – the rest is subject to death and taxes (or karma, if you like) for anyone walking the human road.

The questions of where we place our containment boundaries are a matter for each individual and are governed by human cultural developmental processes. In culture of the West, we acquire this through use of our ego – our initial sense of “Me” – although we fail to teach the way of the Soul. The ego serves a developmental purpose in that it enables us to distinguish what is good for us from what is not-so-good. This is important for survival but to live requires a further step. When we are bound by our ego, our ability to set healthy boundaries, for ourselves or others, is low because we become fascinated by self, by me and mine. We depend upon good parenting to teach us how to live well. Regrettably, in the West, such teaching remains uncommon and we can see the global results in the news. We fail to mature, so as adults we perpetuate unhealthy narcissistic behaviour that  results in our seeking to control everything from people, usually via ‘rules’ which we apply to others (but frequently not to ourselves) and even the planet herself. Whilst our bodies may mature to adulthood, individuals and groups remain trapped in the illusions of ego and the ‘me-and mine-first’ mentality. Rules of Ego are highly restrictive, especially when imposed upon those who fail to fit the prevailing culture. Our ego-bound self passes negative judgment on everything that fails to conform with its own idea of ‘good’ and imprisons the other (not-Ego) within those thought-forms. It is the ego who determines and labels scroungers, skivers, cheats and liars. In an ego-ridden society, we act this out and people die because ego refuses to make way for any other life than that which falls within its own, highly limited perspective.

A child’s developing ego needs to experience being a part of our far greater living organism if they are to come into their heritage of  human psychological maturity. Our ego has to ‘die’ a natural, appropriate, death so our Soul can step forward to learn. Our ego needs to be shown these connections but our healthy Soul does not. Our Soul is already aware of our connectedness to Life in all its forms – all it requires is for our ego to get out of our way so we can explore this Gift more fully. We don’t ‘lose’ anything by it – all that occurs is the ego is relegated to its proper place. Nevertheless my experience tells me that no one can force another to relinquish their ego unwillingly because this is a matter of personal choice. All we can ever do is invite. It is a matter of Respect and Free Will.

To the best of my ability, I offered an invitation for my opponent to grow beyond the control of ego and step, more fully, into the experience of Soul. She declined my offer as she is free to do. As a former therapist, this is unsurprising – no Western ego I have ever met has ever relinquished its desire to control everything without some form of to-the-death battle because this is how the Western ego experiences it. To access the source energy of the Soul, the ego has to release its need for control and being “In Charge” and this is perceived as ego-death. What the ego fails to appreciate is that this death experience is a necessary developmental step in becoming a mature human. It is a life-death-life transformation where the individual resurrects into greater dimensions. These often manifest as increased selfless contributions to the health of their community rather than simple aggrandising the self. Without this, communities of all descriptions experience this never-ending war where selfish, greedy super-ego’s fight for control of what is not theirs to begin with and, quite literally, the body count rises exponentially. The problem I see with Western culture is that we seem to have established an entire social structure based upon the personal ego needs of the unformed and selfish psyche whilst refusing to take the very necessary steps to achieve human maturity. The difference between the two? A healthy adult does not require lessons in how to give to or share with othersan ego-bound child-adult  is the very manifestation of selfishness and refuses the lesson of sharing every time.

What I experienced with my opponent was, I believe, an encounter with an ego that did not want to ‘die’ – what others see is their own business; this is what I saw and I responded accordingly by withdrawing immediately and severing my connection. An ego ‘at bay’ is a highly dangerous criatura – it believes it is about to ‘die’ and is readying itself for a battle for ‘life’. I saw glimpses of this in remarks like:

“I do believe in the good of the whole and that will inevitably mean than some will be sacrificed along the way to achieve that.”

My dispute with my opponent is that those subject to this ‘sacrifice’ are already dying and her position suggests that more need to die too. An ego fighting for its life is perfectly capable of heartlessly destroying other people in its determination to exist on its own terms. I call this ego ‘it’ because it is clearly inhuman when it manifests in some. I have yet to meet a powerful ego whose opinion of themselves requires no further bolstering and which would suffer no real harm by being put on the starvation ‘diet’ it is busy prescribing for others over whom these egos have a public duty of care. The evidence of this is plain in the histories of the West. That my opponent’s ego claims that is it acceptable to be entirely  unboundaried in manifestation is also evident:

“I believe in freedom of the individual to be, have, do what they want as long as it’s legal  (my parenthesis) and it is not for anyone else to say it’s too much.”

The final nail in the coffin, however, was this tweet – send in response to a conversation I was having with someone else about the experience of engaging with my opponent.

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In my own mind, it is clear that my opponent is getting ready to fight based upon the assumption that I was launching some kind of sneak attack against her (?). Actually, I was being an unhappy dickhead at the time (I reserve that right as a human being!) because I was struggling with my some of my responses to her private emails which, given the boundary of confidentiality, could only find expression via information contained in her public blog. I HATE being controlled into silence before I’ve even been asked! And her patronising attitude – it’s enough to do your head in. I was bound to act it out somewhere. Both Martin and Giles are forgiving people when it comes to locawoman. Others will have to make up their own minds whether I am assessing my actions and behaviour with any accuracy here. What I am absolutely certain of is that I have been on very best possible behaviour here and I am alarmed that she thinks she can treat me that way. I might even wonder if she was being intentionally provocative?

Since my actions seemed to have triggered my opponent’s ego defences sufficiently for her to issue threats, it is right and proper that I remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible, particularly given my history. Any kind of personal development can only be achieved by consent and it seemed plain to me that no further consent from my opponent was forthcoming. This is the understanding of the Soul. But consequences always accrue to any of our decisions and it helps to be clear about any change of intention at this stage.

My decision to sever contact on Twitter by blocking was based on following reasons:

  • If I were to remain within the confrontation, I would be facing a ‘killing’ energy.
  • I have faced killing energies before but, as a shaman, I am only permitted to act in the defence of another. If I don’t have to endure it, I leave asap.
  • For the record, I may have been born into the Labour tribe but I am, in no way, a member of it now because I believe all party politics in my country are now riddled with corruption. I don’t need to be a member of a group to express my own opinion. A replay of the War between Labour and Tory could not disinterest me more. I was looking for something new. I have not found it which is disappointing.
  • I have already faced this kind of killing energy from a woman and the consequence, to me, was a seven year prison sentence because I faced her down with her own energy. That was then. This is now and to remain in harmony with my adoptive community means I must walk away from such situations wherever possible. It is possible in this situation.
  • To engage in such a challenge with a killing energy now would be the death of me. My heart-mind cannot withstand the strain anymore of facing down those who seek to kill those aspects of my self I most value. Whilst I might do this for welfare of my healthy community, it is certainly not appropriate with an unwilling and armed opponent. Better to let go and set my opponent free – her journey of Spirit is none of my business.
  • Finally, my friends might forgive me dying in a confrontation if my intent was to benefit my community but I doubt it would be forthcoming for this purpose. It might also create serious problems for my opponent. I have no wish to be the source of any more unnecessary suffering than I already am responsible for.

What I can do is pause and reflect upon this experience and my reason for engaging in the first instance.

Certainly, it began when I stepped in to support a friend grappling with my opponent because I knew she was already vulnerable and in pain. My opponent was not aware of this and I would like to believe that, had she known, she might have dealt my friend a different set of cards.  Nevertheless, in more general terms, my opponent does not appear to have a problem inflicting pain on others because, she says, she is suffering too. I have no reason to disbelieve her but the problem with human-on-human-inflicted-suffering is that its depths – especially in an ego-driven society – know no boundaries and the outcomes are frequently harmful to life itself. Nor do comparisons between ‘my’ suffering and ‘yours’ offer any real solution unless the individuals concerned are seen holistically. In my opinion, my opponent appears to understand some of this but wants to restrict her understanding and, therefore, compassion to ego knowledge and not to the Wisdom of Soul. She is who she makes claim to be, then she might be on the right road for her – but she’s a long ways to travel yet before she catches up with me. This is true for myself too excepting my catching up is in different dimension altogether.

My opponent belongs to my past now.

In closing, I want to say this. I have yet to block my opponent’s access to my blog because I do not believe in discussing others behind their back as a general rule. There are exceptions but this is not one of them. I do however seek no further contact or engagement with her. I experience the standards she unconsciously imposes upon me by her politics as a violation of my integrity and the rules of respect. I want her to leave me alone. I want absolutely no further contact with the woman.

If she is to be believed, this should not be a problem.

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The Hillsborough Panel Report and a very bad day for the Police

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Yesterday, some of our police officers had a very bad day indeed. There were two reports in the press. The first was about a police officer who had intentionally scuppered a series of sex crimes by lying about what he had done and failing to pursue the cases through to prosecution. In some ways, this is to be expected. Police officers are human beings, just like the rest of us, and there will always be the odd bad apple somewhere.  Officers will take it on the chin and recognise that this is a part of policing, whether they like it or not, but that case isn’t what caused so many on Twitter to fall into painful silence. What did that was the publication of the report from the Hillsborough Panel.

As the findings came to light, led by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, details emerged into the public domain. The Report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel is shocking. The tragedy itself and the difficulties the police and other emergency services had in coping with a situation that took 96 lives would have been bad enough. What really did the damage to the officers on Twitter was the information that followed:-

  • That police carried out criminal record checks on the deceased in an attempt to “impugn their reputations”
  • That senior officers privately discussed the “animalistic behaviour” of “drunken marauding fans”
  • Evidence that a number of the dead survived “for a significant period” beyond the 3.15pm cut-off point imposed at the original inquest
  • 116 of the 164 South Yorkshire Police statements were doctored to remove unfavourable comments
  • South Yorkshire Ambulance Service was misleading when it claimed criticism of its conduct made by doctors who were present was factually inaccurate
  • There was “no evidence of substance” to support the police account that alcohol and fan aggression played a part in the disaster
  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed concern in Cabinet that the first inquiry into the disaster contained “devastating criticism of the police”
  • The weight placed on blood alcohol levels among the dead was “inappropriate” (Source: Daily Telegraph)

It took twenty-three years to finally get at this information; a journey which included:-

  • a Home Office inquiry chaired by Lord Justice Taylor
  • a criminal investigation
  • inquests
  • civil actions
  • a judicial review of the inquests
  • a judicial scrutiny of ‘new evidence’ by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith
  • a private prosecution of two senior police officers
  • a submission to the European Court of Human Rights

From what I saw of their reactions on Twitter, the best of the police were as horrified as everyone else and probably more so. What occurred betrays the Oath they take when they become officers. Those wanting to do a good job pay attention to this because it guides them in their work. What occurred during and after the Hillsborough tragedy violated the Oath to its very core. As the documents reveal, we discover that officers, already traumatized by the event itself, were ‘helped’ by senior officers into altering, deleting or qualifying their originally truthful statements thereby becoming unwilling participants in an intentional collusion to blame the victims instead. This tells me that senior officers coerced constables to violate their Oath in an astonishing abuse of power.

Our view of the police is frequently coloured by our experiences with those we do encounter. Listen to prisoners and they’ll tell hair-raising stories of how bad they are. Listen to others and the police can’t put a foot wrong. Both views are inaccurate because they are unbalanced in their reporting. Having met quite a few police constables during my adventures with the law, I’ve found that there are those who are excellent; many who are good-enough; and those who are downright dangerous. Each police officer is different because we are all individual but, if I was polite and respectful – even when they were arresting me – the best and the good-enough did no harm. They were doing their job and following orders. I’ve never seen any reason to make the process more difficult than it needs to be and, in return, they responded in various ways, from simply being fair to offering considerable kindness when I was at my most distressed.

The possibility that these officers could be subject to coercion by senior staff comes as no surprise to me at all, because I’ve seen it before. The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s documents haven’t yet revealed who issued the orders because they haven’t been thoroughly examined yet. We may never know but these remain extremely important questions. Who ordered police constables to alter their statements and ‘helped’ them when they objected? Who ordered the background checks of the victims, actively looking for evidence to impugn their reputation? Who was involved in fabricating tales of drunkenness and ‘animalistic’ behavior? This could only have come from the senior and very senior officers of South Yorkshire Police. Who were these people and what kind of orders are they issuing now?

Certainly one, Norman Bettison – a Chief Inspector with SYP at the time of Hillsborough – is now the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. The Guardian Live Blog comments: “Bettison was part of the internal review team at South Yorkshire police who have been accused of engaging in black propaganda to shift blame for the stadium disaster from the police and onto fans,” although the man himself has consistently denied it, particularly when he became Chief Constable of Merseyside – a surprisingly tactless appointment in the light of subsequent events. But what happened to the rest of them? Are they still working for the police? Where? What are they responsible for now?

If I were a police officer facing this kind of reporting about my service, I would be both appalled and worried. The service is already under strain as government budget cuts begin to bite into direct services. At the same time, they face the threat of privatisation. Knowing our present government, the shock of the Hillsborough Panel’s report could well be used as a political excuse to speed up this process under the guise of efficiency. Yet I do wonder if Hillsborough families would have ever had access to the truth of what went on had the event been covered by privatised police. Somehow, I doubt it.

Morale within the police, as with many other public services, is very low. Their pay and pensions are under threat; the services they provide have been whittled down to danger levels; the social problems we expect them to deal with are likely to increase; they are facing privatisation; and now this. The situation has deteriorated so badly the police are considering industrial action – something else they are forbidden to do! It’s as if the country has ceased to be grateful to those who do walk towards trouble while the rest of us walk away.

When I began this piece, I was aiming to be supportive for the best of our police officers. What I didn’t realise is just how hard it is to do that these days. The collective force of negativity is so powerful it can seem, at times, impossible to combat. It only changes when I recognise the levels of social responsibility attached to the job.

Our politicians use terms like ‘social responsibility’ in their rhetoric but, from my perspective, few have any real notion of what it means. To be socially responsible means to put aside personal or ego needs in favour of the needs of the community. It requires such people to be unselfish with their knowledge, skills, abilities, and, in the case of the police and other emergency services, their lives too. The very best of the police, prison officers, fire services and medics put themselves at risk to keep us safe each and every day. We might not see this with our own eyes but we expect them to be there when we need them. To do that, they have to give up aspects of life we take for granted so we, us non-emergency people, can keep ours. We expect them to be better than we are; to have better behaviour; to have a better social attitude than the ones we hug to ourselves; and we give them hell if they fail. There was a time, as a society, where we valued the personal sacrifices they made on our behalf. We didn’t begrudge them a decent wage and we recognised that the pension they got at the end of their working life was a fair reward for the services they’d provided to us.

Times have changed and not for the better. When it comes to the police, we already have lost a significant number through government budget cuts. These come at a time when the indicators for social unrest suggest we can expect more of this as poverty, homelessness and hunger start to cut into the bones of our society. When our communities explode, as it appears they might, who are we going to call on? Privatised police? Exactly how likely are they to be working “without favour or affection, malice or goodwill”? Personally speaking, if the efficiency of G4S during the London Olympics is anything to go by, we can kiss our collective ass’s goodbye.

If any good is going to come out of the Hillsborough Panel’s report, perhaps we can be grateful for the information of what can go on ‘behind-the-scenes’ in some police forces. The ‘help’ those Hillsborough police received to change their statements violated the heart of both the employment and social contract of policing as that stands at present. Perhaps it’s time to start questioning some of the orders being issued for their lawfulness. Perhaps it’s also time to really start appreciating those police officers who know just how important their Oath is, especially to the public. And perhaps it’s time to really start respecting the best of our police officers whilst dealing with the worst.

If I had written a purely supportive piece on this subject, it wouldn’t have been true and any police officer reading it would know that. Untruths are no good to anyone, especially when facing the kind of problems I’ve already outlined. So this piece has evolved into something as realistic as I can get it from an outsider’s perspective. The police have to deal with this reality every working day and I think it’s disrespectful not to acknowledge that.  They live this reality whilst I only write about it from a home made safe by their presence whenever it’s needed. They’re a tough and often cynical bunch because that can be the only way to survive when you do the job. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear they are valued.

Yes; there are clearly some very serious problems within the police service and some of those are bad police officers at senior levels. Yes, there are equally serious problems developing within the community. Yes, everyone will be looking to you to sort these problems out and, yes, some of us know that it’s being made very hard for you to do that. It’s a horrible position to find yourselves in and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, especially our emergency services. But please also bear in mind that there are some of us who see what you do, know what you’re struggling with and are astonished at your commitment to keep going. Some of us are deeply grateful, not only for what you do but for your commitment and integrity, even in the face of stories like Hillsborough. I’m one of them.

Thank you.

The Changing Standards of Acceptable Behaviour in British Public Life

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I worked as a local government officer.

 

In the early 1980’s, before the Spirit of Thatcherism buried it’s taproot of power into the British political system, to be a public servant demanded a higher standard of behaviour. It was codified in a Contract of Employment that set these standards at a national level (colloquially known as ‘The Purple Book’) and these were negotiated by the white-collar trade union, NALGO (long since assimilated into UNISON). Whilst some trade union agreements might be negotiated at branch level, the Purple Book was the local government shop steward’s bible.

 

During my time as an LGO, I was also a NALGO rep and I learned a great deal about the standards expected of public employees from the personnel staff I dealt with. We wrote and reviewed staff disciplinary procedures together in order to maintain these standards and always, at the heart of any issue, were the mutual concerns that discipline be upheld in the interests of the tax-paying public.

 

Among these standards, in addition to actually being competent, was the demand for truthfulness and honesty because it was held to be vital to the delivery of public services. Call me old-fashioned but I still believe this is true. If anyone is involved in delivering such services, those who foot the bill for this through national and local taxation should reasonably expect honesty and truthfulness in the public interest. When these standards fail, disciplinary action should be expected to be taken against the perpetrator. At that time, such standards were also applied to elected public officials too.

 

As a shop steward I learned that, in practice, disciplinary action could often be averted because management had failed to follow the proper procedures designed to ensure that anyone facing allegations of misconduct was dealt with fairly. As one full-time official I knew put it, “A person who is guilty of misconduct should be disciplined or sacked – our task as TU officials is to make sure management do it properly.” It’s a basic rule-of-thumb I’ve never found reason to disagree with but somewhere along the line, someone has. Whether this alteration is in the public interest really is for the public to decide.

 

There is a reason I raise this issue now. In the last few days, the UK Prime Minister has reshuffled his Cabinet. One of the survivors of these changes has been the Home Secretary, Theresa May. This becomes interesting because, at age 56 (on 1.10.12), she outlasts slightly younger female colleagues who have, allegedly, been sacked for being “too old”. In addition, Mrs May has a criminal conviction as a direct result of her work as Home Secretary. Under the kind of employment contract I was subject to, this would have been regarded as a potentially sackable offence, yet the lady remains firmly in office, so something has changed and it might not be for the better.

 

Yesterday, I took a closer look at Mrs. May and her performance as Home Secretary during the London Olympics Security debacle – I might have called it a ‘scandal’ were it not for the fact that the issue seems to have disappeared from public view. I’m going to post my findings in full because, as a retired shop steward of the old school, I still adhere to the requirement for proper evidence.  As the reader, you are invited to make up your own mind on whether she has a case to answer. Bear in mind that, in the employment law I was taught, a decision to dismiss does not have to meet the standard of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ (the measure for criminal law) but can be determined on the balance of probability. My evidence is taken from media reports at the time.

 

The evidence begins here:

 

24.05.2012

London 2012 Olympics: G4S blame £283 million security costs on Government and Locog | The Telegraph

The private security provider to the London Olympics has defended its £284m contract and blamed the tripling of security costs on the Government and Games organisers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9288289/London-2012-Olympics-G4S-blame-283-million-security-costs-on-Government-and-Locog.html

 

27.05.2012

Time might run out for Olympic security recruitment | Financial Times

Mark Hamilton, the managing director of G4S’ security personnel, fears that time may run out for Olympic security recruitment as 10,300 of the necessary 13,300 guards are still awaiting training.

Unchecked – behind paywall: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d5cc5ada-a59a-11e1-a77b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1w5mGktSF

 

The story breaks here:

 

08.07.2012

London 2012: concern mounts over potential shortage of security guards | Sport | The Guardian

The home secretary, Theresa May, has stepped in amid growing concern that additional military personnel may be needed to make up the shortfall. It is understood May called senior G4S executives on Friday after the firm failed to supply enough staff for patrols last week at venues in the Olympic park in east London.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/08/olympics-2012-uksecurity

 

11.07.2012

Military drafted in after G4S Olympic staffing failure | Channel 4 News

‘Locog originally contracted G4S to provide 2,000 security guards out of the 10,000 required. But when Locog re-estimated the total number needed to 23,700, G4S agreed in December to supply 10,000 personnel total out of 23,700. The new contract is worth an estimated £284m.

Channel 4 News understands that G4S are subject to a penalty fine per venue, per day if they ultimately fail to meet the agreed staffing levels and that senior managers have been demoted as a result.’

http://www.channel4.com/news/military-drafted-in-after-g4s-olympic-staffing-failure

 

12.07.2012

Olympic security: army reinforcements called in to fill G4S shortfall | Sport | The Guardian

The home secretary, Theresa May, has been pressing G4S to provide assurances over its commitments, but patience in Whitehall ran out last weekend and talks began over whether the Ministry of Defence could fill the gap…

The Home Office permanent secretary, Dame Helen Ghosh, has admitted that Locog’s original “best estimate” of 10,000 security staff within venues had been a “finger in the air” exercise….

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/11/army-reinforcements-olympics

 

May battles for trust as army steps in – FT.com

Amid fiery questioning from fellow MPs Theresa May denied charges from the opposition that she was presiding over a security “shambles”, and admitted that the G4S personnel shortfall had only “crystallised” 24 hours earlier, despite close Home Office supervision of the £284m contract….

Ms May reassured MPs that all the costs would be met from the £553m budget for venue security, and that financial penalties would be imposed on G4S for failing to meet its obligations…

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fc2fed32-cc2c-11e1-aac1-00144feabdc0.html

 

BBC News – Olympics security not compromised, Theresa May says

Theresa May said it was discovered only on Wednesday – 16 days before the Games begin – that contractor G4S did not have enough trained security staff…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18813729

 

Theresa May grilled over G4S Olympics shambles – YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFvHDQFhNl0

 

Other links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/12/london-2012-olympics-extra-3500-troops-home-office-shambles-accused-philip-hammond-theresa-may_n_1667362.html

 

13.07.2012

EXCLUSIVE: Theresa May Wrong about G4S Olympics Security Farce, Says Soldier – IBTimes UK

Theresa May’s claim that the government knew that additional British Army soldiers were needed for Olympics security only on the day before she made the announcement has been branded inconceivable by a soldier drafted in at the last minute to work at the games….

A member of an air assault infantry battalion, who has served in Afghanistan, the source told IBTimes UK that his regiment was informed that they would be needed for the games on 9 July – two days before May claimed she knew.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/362848/20120713/olympic-security-soldiers-angry-g4s-staff-frustration.htm

 

They left Olympics high and dry – but G4S will not pay penalty – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

“But a senior Government source told The Independent that the contract with G4S did not include a penalty clause.

The revelation appears to contradict a statement by the Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons. She told MPs that while the contract was between G4S and the Games organisers Locog, she understood that there were “penalties within that contract”.

A source said that in fact it was a pro-rata agreement where G4S were paid for each extra security guard they supplied – and not penalised if they did not make the overall target. “The person who negotiated the contract should be shot,” the source said.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/they-left-olympics-high-and-dry—but-g4s-will-not-pay-penalty-7939668.html

 

15.07.2012

Olympic security not compromised by G4S shortfall, says Lord Coe | UK news | guardian.co.uk

“He (Hunt) said the government had “of course been monitoring the situation with G4S, and their management told us right up until last week that everything was on track. But we’ve had that contingency plan for many months and we are just very lucky to have fantastic armed services who can come when we need them and they will do a brilliant job.”

Home Office ministers were warned about security issues surrounding the Games 10 months ago. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary raised its concerns in a confidential report in September 2011 after a number of inspections to test that the security plans of Locog, the Games organising committee, were on track.

The Home Office said HMIC had not carried out an investigation into G4S, and the issues flagged by HMIC had all been dealt with by February.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/15/olympic-security-g4s-lord-coe

 

Exclusive: May ‘was told 10 months ago of G4S failings’ – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

“A confidential report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was presented to Home Office ministers in September 2011, which should have raised alarm bells about the readiness of G4S.

The report by the police watchdog into Olympics security preparedness – which has never been published – raised serious issues over G4S last year, The Independent on Sunday understands. It is not known whether the Home Secretary personally saw the report or whether it only went across the desk of James Brokenshire, her junior minister.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-may-was-told-10-months-ago-of-g4s-failings-7944471.html

 

16.07.2012

G4S assured us they would ‘overshoot’ Olympic staffing, says Theresa May | Business | guardian.co.uk

“She (May) also strongly denied weekend press reports that ministers knew long before last Wednesday that there would be not be enough private security staff to guard the 100 Olympic venues around Britain. MPs repeatedly raised with her reports that the London mayor, Boris Johnson, and his policing deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, had said that everybody involved had known about the problem “ages ago”.

She said of reports that G4S had warned the crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, at repeated meetings: “In fact, G4S repeatedly assured us that they would overshoot their targets,” she said.

May also rejected claims that ministers must have known about the shortfall because troops had been put on standby in April.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/16/g4s-assured-overshoot-olympic-staff-theresa-may

 

Video: Theresa May: G4S failed in its Olympics obligation – Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/olympicsvideo/9403674/Theresa-May-G4S-failed-in-its-Olympics-obligation.html

 

BBC News – London 2012: May defends Games security plans

“But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said Mrs May should have known about the problem.

“Even G4S say they have been discussing the detailed shortfall for eight or nine days, yet last Monday the home secretary told the House she was confident our partners will deliver.

“It is incomprehensible that monitoring was that poor that no one told her until Wednesday,” she said.

“How on earth could the minister responsible for delivering Olympic security be the only person who didn’t know?”

Ms Cooper also told MPs Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson had admitted the problems were known about “ages ago”, and his deputy Stephen Greenhalgh had claimed security concerns had been raised “repeatedly”…”

“Mrs May told the Commons last week that there were penalties written into the G4S contract but did not give details.

Late on Friday, G4S said it faced a £35m-£50m loss on the £284m contract after failing to recruit enough security guards for the Olympics.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18856922

 

BBC News – Locog missed G4S’s corner-cutting says insider

“An insider from the committee organising the Olympics (Locog) has told Newsnight that they failed to deal with the problems at G4S despite warnings over the last 18 months.

The individual, who does not want to be named, said: “G4S have been appalling.”

He claims those in charge of Locog’s security were “amateurish” and it was a mistake using one company to supply staff.

Newsnight put these allegations to Locog and they have not responded.

The insider says Locog’s event services division used a number of contractors to supply thousands of stewards and that has worked well but the security division put all its eggs in one basket.

“It was the wrong strategy, to use only one company.”

He also says that there was inadequate scrutiny.

“They couldn’t spot when contractors were cutting corners.”

The insider who has worked in security for many years asserts that “at the top level” the management of security at Locog was “thoroughly amateurish and incompetent”.

Watch the full report on Newsnight on Monday 16 July 2012 at 2230 BST on BBC Two. Or afterwards on BBC iPlayer and the Newsnight website.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18853874

 

17.07.2012

Nick Buckles: G4S reputation is in tatters after Olympics shambles | Metro.co.uk

“Mr Buckles explained how he had told organiser Locog on July 3 that his company experienced a shortfall over the weekend.

It was monitored daily but it was not until an Olympics Security Board meeting on July 11 that G4S said it was not going to meet its contract obligations…”

” ‘G4S only told the government that they would be unable to meet their contractual arrangements last Wednesday and we took immediate action,’ Ms May said.”

“However, further developments have suggested problems with the security contingent were first noted almost a year ago by senior workers closer to the planning.”

http://www.metro.co.uk/olympics/905372-nick-buckles-g4s-reputation-is-in-tatters-after-olympics-shambles

 

(Video) Theresa May grilled over G4S Olympics shambles | dotSUB

http://dotsub.com/view/d17edfed-9657-4c46-be7a-3e73b41fb4ea

 

Home Sec Denies Damning HMIC Report On G4S | UK Police News – Police Oracle

http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Police+Performance/2012/Jul/17/Home-Sec-Denies-Damning-HMIC-Report-On-G4S_51353.html

 

19.07.2011

 Home Secretary Theresa May accused of giving ‘selective account’ of G4S Olympics chaos


The revelations call into question claims made by the Conservative Minister who told the Commons the “absolute gap in numbers” was not known until July 11.

It has now emerged that the Home Secretary was aware of problems in security recruitment as early as June 27th.  The details of when she knew of the problems were contained in a letter sent by Mrs May to the Commons Select Committee which has been set up to look into the shambles.

Mrs May wrote: “On June 27 G4S and Locog attended an Olympics Security Board meeting at the Home Office and said they were experiencing scheduling problems.

“They warned of a possible temporary shortfall in G4S deployed number from July 1.

“G4S were unable to specify the size of the shortfall and could say only that it would be ‘significantly less than 1,000’.

“G4S stated that the shortfall was mainly due to the failure to take account of the fact that large parts of their workforce would be unable to begin work before July 27.”

Mrs May went on: “Locog and G4S were pressed to clarify the shortfall and factors which had created it urgently.

“The meeting considered a possible short-term and temporary call on the military contingency force (MCF) which had been created for Olympics purposes.”

Mrs May admitted that permission to put “a small part of the MCF” on 24 hours notice was sought as early as June 28, with the force being mobilised “several days later”.

“But at this stage, of course, G4S were still confident that they would deliver the required numbers,” Mrs May said.

“However, as we now know, this is no longer the case.

“On July 11 G4S told the Olympic Security Board for the first time that they were no longer confident of reaching their workforce targets.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Home Secretary was asked repeatedly when she and the Home Office were warned about problems at G4S, and she repeatedly gave everyone the impression they had only known since July 11.

“Why has Theresa May waited until now to admit the Home Office in fact were warned two weeks earlier? She needs to explain urgently how she justifies having given Parliament and the public such a selective account, and why the Home Office were so slow to respond.”

The admission will increase the pressure on the under fire cabinet minister who has faced criticism after troops and police from across the UK had to be mobilised in order to plug the security gaps left after security firm G4S admitted they could not provide the number of personnel required.”

http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/5419-home-secretary-theresa-may-accused-of-giving-selective-account-of-g4s-olympics-chaos

 

BBC News – Home Office warned over G4S staffing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18906382

 

Theresa May warned G4S wouldn’t have enough security guards for Games two weeks before she initially claimed | Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2176100/Theresa-May-warned-G4S-wouldnt-security-guards-Games-weeks-initially-claimed.html

 

20.07.2012

Theresa May gave ‘selective account’ to MPs over supply of G4S guards – Politics – News – Evening Standard

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-may-gave-selective-account-to-mps-over-supply-of-g4s-guards-7961532.html


G4S ‘said last month it could get guards,’ Theresa May reveals – Paralympic News – Olympics – Evening Standard

http://www.standard.co.uk/olympics/olympic-news/g4s-said-last-month-it-could-get-guards-theresa-may-reveals-7961915.html

 

G4S may lose police support jobs after Olympic fiasco | Business | guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/20/g4s-police-support-jobs-olympics

 

 

and then something interesting happens…

G4S dismissed Olympic Games ‘teething problems’ – Home News – UK – The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/g4s-dismissed-olympic-games-teething-problems-7961797.html

 

 

It is here that my own trail of evidence comes to an end.

 

It is clear that Prime Minister David Cameron believes there is no case to answer. Despite the above; despite Mrs May’s criminal conviction for contempt of court; and despite being ‘too old’, she remains firmly in post as Home Secretary. Nevertheless, in my old-fashioned mind, Theresa May appears to have a case to answer when it comes to standards of behaviour in public life.

 

What interests me the most is that no-one seems to be calling her to account. For the public – who are paying the bill – this seems very wrong to me but then I am of the old-school who believe there should be higher standards of discipline applied to those in public life. You, the reader, are free to make up your own mind.

 

As this piece was opened with the magical tool of the story-teller, so I will close it with the same discipline:

 

“This story was told to someone who told it to a hundred people. Each one told it to a hundred more and they, in turn, passed it on to another hundred. One of those told this story to me and you are one of the hundred I am telling it to.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Politics of Envy

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As the economic recession bites more deeply into ordinary people’s lives, the social behaviour of the wealthiest has come under closer scrutiny whether it is tax avoidance, accumulated profits or their attitude towards those poorer than themselves.  The resulting picture has not been very pretty.

 

Responses now coming from the rich and powerful contain claims that scrutineers have debased their argument by using the politics of jealousy or envy.  Both jealousy and envy are poorly understood emotions and this ignorance needs to be addressed before considering whether such arguments have any validity.

 

The first thing to understand is that jealousy and envy are different emotions, have separate dynamics and function in very different ways.

 

Jealousy is a three-sided emotion. It involves an established pairing or relationship that experiences an ‘attack’ by a third party. In a healthy relationship, jealousy can actually be beneficial. As one utilises their jealous feelings to deal with the interloper, their partner can experience this as feeling cared for. Seeing off an interloper to an established relationship is protective and clearly demonstrates the value placed upon both partner and relationship. It is good to know someone loves us enough to become protective in the face of outside attack. As with all extreme emotions, jealousy can be harmful but by the time this occurs the feeling will have slipped over the edge into envy. Where jealousy can have a positive outcome, the only useful purpose envy serves is to highlight psychological insecurities in the envier themselves. Otherwise, it has nothing to recommend it at all.

 

Envy is a two-sided emotion where the dynamic is between the envier and the envied and it works like this. The envier sees something desirable in another (the envied) that they believe they can never possess, regardless of any factual evidence to the contrary. The fury that arises is envy and produces two outcomes.

 

Stage One is where the envier severs any relationship connection and then blames the envied for the lack of that connection. With the envier responsible for this communication failure, there is little the envied can do. Of itself, a relationship breakdown is survivable. What makes envy the most destructive of all emotions is the next step.

 

Stage Two is triggered by the feeling of loss within the envier. They have seen or experienced a quality or ability in another that they believe is lacking within themselves and which they believe they can never possess. For some people, awareness of lack could be a spur to attain this quality or ability for themselves but not in the case of envy. The envier perceives the envied as an attacker who has caused them loss. This perception triggers a furious reaction which causes the envier to launch an all-out attack in retaliation against the source of the problem. Please bear in mind, that this is not straightforward assault but an attempt to wipe out the envied from existence itself. It is not enough to hurt; it is not enough to destroy; when this emotion rides high, the envier is seeking to annihilate the envied and everything they represent and feels perfectly justified in doing so. There is no compassion; no willingness to consider alternative viewpoints and the only acceptable outcome is the complete removal of the envied from existence. As a result, nothing is permitted to stand in the way of an envious attack and every weapon at the envier’s disposal is brought into play. History is littered with the outcomes of the politics of envy.

 

Envy is the only emotion-in-action that has no redeeming features, which is why it is considered the deadliest of the seven sins. Envy is what is meant by the ‘Evil Eye’.

 

Therapeutically speaking, it requires a very high level of skill in both practitioner and client to lay bare the bones of a full-blown envious attack and when politicians or the wealthy begin to accuse the poor of envy or envious jealousy we step on extremely dangerous ground. If envy has any role in public life, it can only be in the politics of annihilation because this is all envy is capable of.

 

When the wealthy start alleging that they are victims of political envy, it is important to look at how this dynamic is being played out. For example, how easy is it for the poor to make their own case? Does the evidence support the allegation? If it can be demonstrated that the “accused” have been systematically silenced by their accusers, then we might be looking at a projection. If it can also be demonstrated that the “accused” are experiencing personally destructive outcomes as a result of the actions of their accusers, then we are probably looking at the politics of envy.

 

It might sound odd to suggest that the wealthy envy the poor but, on balance, current evidence suggests that this is exactly the kind of politics in play at the present time. We can be grateful to the unconscious awareness of the accusers for naming the problem so accurately.

 

Speaking personally, I have never found the experience of being envied to be a pleasant one and I see no good reason to change my mind. If we are truly now functioning within the collective politics of envy, then the envied are facing the annihilation of all they value, up to and including their own lives, from enviers incapable of any form of compassion or mercy.  Those in the throes of envy are unrelenting in their destructive pursuit of the envied. The process will not end unless or until every remnant of the envied is obliterated from existence, or until some outside intervention places firm boundaries on the actions of the envier.

 

Until the politics of envy are properly understood and contained, the world can expect to learn about this subject in the hardest possible way.

 

Again.

So, UK: Exactly How Big A Mess Are We In?

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Every so often, there is a shift in collective thinking and new minds are awakened to the collective problems we are facing together. From my observations, it would seem that we have a new ‘class’ who have just joined those of us who have been awake for a while.

It can be a confusing and difficult experience for the newbie, so this is a ‘Cooks Tour’ of the problems I believe we are all facing in one form or another.

1.     Introduction

As humanity enters September 2012, we are faced with some very serious problems that will affect us all. The crisis affecting the global economy is already at lethal levels for ordinary people and is set to worsen in the immediate future as we enter a global food crisis resulting from drought and crop failures around the world. This is already being felt in rising food costs. These are very serious problems that are affecting a rapidly increasing number of British people and are set to get much worse before they improve.

A healthy society facing such enormous problems will look to their leaders for collective solutions. Regrettably, evidence suggests that many ‘solutions’ being passed by the British government at present do not appear to be serving the public and there is increasing opinion that it favours a very small group whose main focus appears to be maximising private profit regardless of social expense.

In order to full appreciate the seriousness of the problem, it is often useful to find and apply recognised measures of healthy behaviour, both in ourselves as well as in others. By looking at healthy measures, we can begin to appreciate how ‘sick’ we might actually be.

It helps to start with people at the top because any problems here will have a flow-down effect upon the population.

2.     Setting the Standards in Government

In the UK, elected members of Parliament are required to adhere to the following, taken (from “The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament”) :

IV.  General Principles of Conduct

8.  In carrying out their parliamentary and public duties, Members will be expected to observe the following general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in its First Report as applying to holders of public office.[1] These principles will be taken into account when considering the investigation and determination of any allegations of breaches of the rules of conduct in Part V of the Code.

Selflessness

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.”

 

Paragraph 10 of the same document goes on to say this:

 

“Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.”

 

Given that this Code applies to all UK MP’s, it might be reasonable to assume that these requirements form a part of a Social Contract to govern and if it forms part of a contract, then failure to comply results in a breach of that contact. For example, under UK Employment Law, the Contract is deemed to be an agreement between consenting adults and sets down the standards expected of both employer and employee as well as detailing how serious contractual breaches will be dealt with, up to and including dismissal.

Readers are invited to consider whether they have seen any evidence to suggest that this Code might have been broken.

3.     The Social Contract

Who ever is elected to Parliament takes on the responsibility to meet the genuine needs of the electorate. Because this area has always been a matter of interpretation, setting measures that identify these needs can be difficult. There is one simplistic measure that addresses this in general terms: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Whilst there are disagreements about how Maslow interpreted these needs, there is general agreement that the first two fundamental needs have remained fairly accurate during 70 years of study. These are:

Physiological needs

For the most part, physiological needs are obvious – they are the literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body simply cannot continue to function.

Physiological needs are the most prepotent of all the other needs. Therefore, the human that lacks food, love, esteem, or safety would consider the greatest of his/her needs to be food.

Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements. The intensity of the human sexual instinct is shaped more by sexual competition than maintaining a birth rate adequate to survival of the species.

and

Safety needs

With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. In the absence of physical safety – due to war, natural disaster, or, in cases of family violence, childhood abuse, etc. – people (re-)experience post-traumatic stress disorder and trans-generational trauma transfer. In the absence of economic safety – due to economic crisis and lack of work opportunities – these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, reasonable disability accommodations, and the like. This level is more likely to be found in children because they have a greater need to feel safe.

Safety and Security needs include:

  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well-being
  • Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts

Although it has been subject to greater disagreement and debate, I include the third hierarchy because it provides a pertinent commentary to the previous two needs:-

Love and belonging

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs are interpersonal and involve feelings of belongingness. The need is especially strong in childhood and can over-ride the need for safety as witnessed in children who cling to abusive parents. Deficiencies with respect to this aspect of Maslow’s hierarchy – due to hospitalism, neglect, shunning, ostracism etc. – can impact individual’s ability to form and maintain emotionally significant relationships in general, such as:

  • Friendship
  • Intimacy
  • Family

Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs, or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, may ignore the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging

4.     How the Social Contract is being applied by the UK Government

a.      Physiological Needs

At present, there does not appear to be any forward planning with regard to food shortages in the UK, although the problem clearly is starting to affect our society.

This is from Wikipedia:

UK Foodbanks

There has been rapid growth in the provision of UK foodbanks since the financial crisis that began in 2007. Most UK food banks are co-ordinated by The Trussell Trust , a Christian charity based in Salisbury which serves as the UK’s only food bank network. Trusell’s first food bank was established in 2000; in 2004 they only ran two. [15] [16] Before the financial crisis, food banks were “almost unheard of” in the UK. [17] [18] In 2007 / 2008 there were only 22 food banks in the Trusell network; by early 2011, Trussell supported 100. As of May 2012, they had 201. By August, 252. The rate of increase has been rising rapidly. In 2011, only about one new food bank was being opened per week. In early 2012, about two were being opened each week. By July, Trussell had reported that the rate of new openings had increased to three per week, and by August, four were being opened each week, with three new food banks being opened in that month for Nottingham alone. [19] [20] [21] [22] Demand for food banks is expected to increase even further when cuts to welfare come into effect in April 2013; several councils have began looking at funding foodbanks to increase their capability, as cuts to their budgets mean they’ll be less able to help vulnerable people directly. [23]

Most UK foodbanks are hosted by churches. About a third of their food comes from supermarkets, with much of it donated by individuals. Trussell Trust aims to provide short term support for people whose needs have not yet been addressed by official state welfare provision; those who have been ‘falling into the cracks in the system’. The Trussell franchise has procedures which aim to prevent long term dependency on their services, and to ensure that those in need are referred to qualified outside agencies. The charity suggests that the credit crunch caused an upsurge in the number of people needing emergency food. Since 2010, demand for foodbanks continued to increase, and at a more rapid rate, partly as austerity began to take effect, and partly as those on low incomes began to draw down savings and run out of friends they of whom they are willing to request support from. Unlike soup kitchens [24], most UK food banks are unable to help people who come in off the street without a referral – instead they operate with a referral system. Vouchers are handed out to those in need by various sorts of professional, such as Social workers, health workers and housing officials. The voucher can typically be exchanged at the food bank for a package of food sufficient to last three days. A small number of foodbanks have been set up outside of the Trussell system, in part as they dont like having to turn away folk without referrals. [19] [25] [26] [20] [21] [15]

People who turn to food banks are typically grateful both for the food and for the warmth and kindness they receive from the volunteers. However sometimes food banks have ran out of suppliers by the time they arrive. Some find it humiliating to have to ask for food, and that the packages they receive dont always seem nutritious. Some food banks have tried to respond with innovative programmes; London street food bank for example has began asking donors to send in supermarket vouchers so that those they serve will be able to choose food that best meets their nutritional needs. [27] [16] [28] [21]

Britain’s prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the efforts of food banks; Caroline Spelman , his Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has described food banks as an “excellent example” of active citizenship. Labour MP Kate Green has a different view, feeling that the rise of food banks reflects folk being let down by the State Welfare system, saying “I feel a real burning anger about them … People are very distressed at having to ask for food; it’s humiliating and distressing.””

At present, the UK Government appears to be relying upon charity to meet the most fundamental human need of all; food. Whether this policy meets the criteria of social responsibility in a time of crisis remains to be seen but given current forecasts by the World Bank, if there are no government-led responses to these issues soon, it is likely to be failing in it’s duty to the public it was elected to serve.

We can also add a housing shortage and soaring energy costs to the list British people’s physiological needs.

Without food or, in a climate like ours, shelter and warmth then we can reasonably expect people to die. Whether this consequence is already occurring is a matter that needs to be examined by those involved.

b.      Security Needs

The impact of shortages upon peoples’ physiological needs have a direct consequence upon the security of society. Food shortages are known to result in food riots and such events have already been predicted for the UK. An absence of socially responsible initiatives from government is likely to contribute towards such unrest.

When riots occur, as they already have, a healthy government and public would look to the police in containing the immediate problem and restoring public safety. Given the present unrelenting political pressure in favour of privatising Britain’s police services and the already implemented reduction of publicly-funded front line staff, it might be worth considering whether the police are actually capable of meeting this expectation anymore. If we listen to the police, they are raising these concerns themselves. A further concern to the public would be whom this privatised police force would serve especially as some elected officials, in other parts of the world, have openly referred to the police as ‘their private army’.

Further, the demand for health services arising from the failure to meet basic physiological needs is also likely to occur. This is will be happening at a time when the National Health Service is also being subject to unrelenting political pressure to privatise too. If we listen to those involved, they are already reporting the consequences.

To this, we must add the following:

  • reductions in social welfare payments to the sick and disabled via ‘assessments’ utilising methods of questionable ethics .
  • requirements for the unemployed to work, without pay, in order to continue to be eligible for benefit payments. That profitable private industry is the recipient of this unpaid workforce also raises ethical questions regarding what is or is not in the public interest.

This is not an exhaustive list – many other issues have been left out – nor are the issues dealt with in depth because they have been very well addressed elsewhere. Clearly, even with these limitations, there is a very serious picture emerging about the factual condition of British society that is not being thoroughly addressed, as far as I can determine at present, by those whose responsibility it is to do so.

It is my opinion that one of the biggest obstacles to addressing the above is current party politics and this includes all the main political parties of the UK. These problems become much clearer when viewed from Maslow’s third hierarchical need.

c.       Love and Belonging

Each individual will have their own interpretation of the meaning of these terms. In social terms, however, this level of need refers to social inclusion and appreciation.

The following are a list of links that explore various forms of social inclusion in the UK:

http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/very-definition-of-irony.html

http://www.brucelawson.co.uk/2012/hard-working-tory-mps-on-lazy-british-workers/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/marketforceslive/2012/aug/22/sse-investors-applaud-price-hike

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/08/22/rolling-in-it-the-mps-making-six-figure-sums-outside-parliament/

In the light of the above, it would be reasonable to conclude that social inclusion of all the UK population does not register high on our present Coalition government’s agenda. What is more disturbing is that those political parties whose public duty would be to act as a break to Coalition policy, or to act in opposition, have significantly failed to do so. By failing to act, it would also be reasonable to suppose that present government policies are a result of cross-party consensus. If this supposition is true, then the British people are facing a constitutional crisis alongside all the other crises now occurring.

5.     How this crisis has occurred

When faced with effectively managing this kind of crisis, all contributory factors have to be considered whilst trying to identify workable solutions.  Some factors, such as the food crisis, are beyond human control whereas others, like political agendas, remain firmly within it.

In my opinion, it seems that to all intents and purposes, the UK Coalition Government has chosen to abandon the general public interest at a time of great need. According to the MP’s Code of Conduct, this should not occur:

 

“Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.”

 

But given the impact of present government policies what is now regarded as ‘public interest’ does not appear to be especially inclusive , as the following links clearly show:

http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/p/mps-with-or-had-financial-links-to.html

http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-telegraph-think-tank-and-very-dodgy.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/8442756/MPs-who-repaid-expenses-got-money-back-in-secret-deal.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/aug/20/tax-inspectors-clash-mp-expenses?CMP=twt_gu

I would suggest that when MP’s apparently fail to adhere to the standards of the Members Code of Conduct, either individually or collectively, it inevitably follows that the public will suffer the kind of abuses to human needs outlined above. I would also suggest that failures to address the problem point to high levels of collusion amongst those empowered to call transgressors to account.

It is clear that those involved see no problem with their actions and have every intention of imposing further hardships upon those whose needs it refuses to recognise, as evidenced by the following tweet from one of the Government’s ‘think-tanks’, Policy Exchange.

Under this kind of aggressive thinking, unless or until the situation changes, ordinary people can no longer expect any realistic support from their government unless individual MP’s personally choose to place their constituents needs above those of their respective party’s policy. It can be noted that this is starting to occur but whether this marks a true change in political thinking remains to be seen.

If that change were to take root, there is already one strikingly successful solution that could be considered as an alternative to current UK policies.

6.     A Part of the Solution

 

These are all very serious issues that seem to be stuck for ideas when it comes to solutions.

Whilst there are undoubtedly questions to answer about who is responsible and what needs to be done to prevent this occurring in the future, the problem with such discussions is that they do not materially contribute to resolving the immediate problems we are facing. These need to be dealt with at local level. If my neighbour is starving, it is not my MP in Westminster who sees this, but me.

During the last eleven years, I have lived amongst the poor and excluded as one of them. What I have noticed are the high levels of unexpected creativity and practicality when these groups are asked to resolve problems affecting them directly. This can prove to be particularly successful when those involved are given the resources to do it. Such resources may have initial investment costs but these more than pay for themselves over the longer term. Unfortunately, many workable solutions that might be produced by the poor for the poor are likely to be disregarded or dismissed in favour of a form of accepted thinking that is demonstrably failing society elsewhere. The first issue that needs ‘unsticking’ is the belief that those currently labelled ‘undesirable’ or ‘excluded’ have nothing to offer a country in crisis.

The second issue that needs addressing is the assumption that the prevailing ‘Westminster’ view of society is the only opinion available. What may suit London and the South East does not suit other regions. Imposing Westminster solutions will inevitably fail if the region itself has different ideas. Enabling and resourcing regions to support their local communities on their own terms falls into the kind of investment described above. Such investment contributes to the local economy thereby reducing unemployment whilst, at the same time, creating needed social infrastructures tailored to met direct need. These are the politics of social inclusion.

Finally, there needs to be recognition that the private sector may well have something socially worthwhile to offer. Not all those working in the private sector are crooks and liars indeed some are already stepping forward to assist others. In addition, the private sector offers greater legal flexibility than the public. The public sector is only permitted to do that enshrined in law and no more. The private sector may do anything provided it is not prohibited in law. Were a private company to enshrine social and corporate responsibility as part of its operational practice, it may well be able to meet community needs above and beyond the ability of the currently-structured public sector. Such companies have done well in the past so there is no reason to suppose they wouldn’t do well now.

Even in these straitened and increasingly difficult times, there are still opportunities for ordinary people to taken control of their immediate needs if they understand the chance is there and are willing to take the risk. All that is necessary is a change in thinking followed by a change in action.

What we can be certain of, given the evidence above, is that to continue to depend upon Government for solutions at this present time may to prove very hazardous to the life, health and safety of society. Given the impending global famine, it is also likely to be true that the time for discussion is rapidly coming to an end.

These are the problems I can identify with any clarity. The true extent of the problem is far greater and is affecting everyone. Nevertheless, I hope you have enough information now to arrive at your own educated answer to my opening question.

Rebuttal: “This exploitation of suicidal people is a new low for campaigners against welfare reform”

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In an insane world, how do you assess whether what you are being told is mentally healthy?

A fascinating analysis on the politics of death by suicide appeared in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, penned by  Brendan O’Neill. He alleges that ‘anti-reformers’, as he describes them, are exploiting the suicidal for political purposes:

“The idea that there are vast swathes of people out there who not only can’t survive without welfare but who might kill themselves if their welfare is taken away, speaks to the highly patronising nature of modern left-wing campaigning. These campaigners approach working-class and less well-off communities through the politics of pity rather than the politics of solidarity, and consequently have a tendency to view “the poor” as vulnerable, at risk, irrational, on the cusp of suicide, and in constant need of care and largesse from the do-gooding state. Poorer communities would be far better off fighting against such Victorian-style pity-politics than against Cameron’s welfare reforms.”

The underlying assumptions made by the author are what make this post so interesting from a mental health perspective. For example:

  1. Those who oppose the coalition government’s Welfare Reforms are described thus: “Earlier this year, reform-allergic campaigners sought to circumvent democracy and public debate by pleading with the House of Lords to strike down Cameron’s allegedly wicked reforms.”
  2. These ‘reform-allergic ‘campaigners are guilty of the following: “To exploit such psychologically disturbed behaviour for political ends – and to say that David Cameron is somehow responsible for such a grisly suicide – is politics of the most depraved variety.”
  3. The reform-allergic are blame-worthy of the ‘sin ‘of: “Having failed to make inroads with the living, breathing public, and to convince them of the political argument against welfare reform, campaigners have opted to turn terribly unfortunate suicides into the political equivalent of a ventriloquist’s dummy, using them to mouth the words: “Your welfare reforms killed me!” Alienated from the living, they’re hooking up with the dead”
  4. The author alleges the following: “It is because they lack any serious arguments against welfare reform, and so must plumb for hard emotionalism instead, and also lack any constituency of grassroots support, any backing from ordinary people, and so must try to raise an army of dead people instead.”
  5. And finally, the author accuses those anti-reformers of politics of the most depraved variety: “The exploitation of people who clearly have serious mental-health issues is shocking even by the standards of modern-day campaigners against any kind of welfare reform. So Calum’s List gives the example of a “desperate man” in Wandsworth, London, who, worried about his housing benefit, lined up three kitchen knives and fatally stabbed himself in the heart. But this is not a rational response to economic hardship; it is not a rational response to having your benefits cut. It is the act of someone in a fevered, unstable state of mind.”

According to O’Neill,  poor beleaguered David Cameron is being assailed by depraved anti-reformers with no constituency support from the living, breathing public and who, it is claimed, lack any serious arguments against welfare reform and must therefore resort to ‘hard emotionalism’. These are interesting assumptions indeed and well worth closer examination.

From my perspective, as a recipient of the current welfare system, these so-called anti-reformers are actually very pro-reform. They are pro-reform of the banking system. They are pro-reform of unlawful media influence over national politics. These depraved people point out that the abuse rate of MP’s expenses runs at a much higher rate than that of, for example, the abuse of welfare benefits for the disabled and ill. The allegation that these pro-reformers have no constituency support needs to be set alongside the fact that these welfare reforms are being implemented by a coalition government with far less support than those who oppose them. The reforms – like the dismantling of the NHS into private hands – were not presented to the British public so they could vote on it, so it becomes nonsensical to claim that the government does have such support. If it were to claim such a mandate for itself, it would have to call a general election so ordinary people did have the opportunity to express their opinion. Given current opinion polls for David Cameron’s party, there seems to be clearer evidence of considerable non-support for what is going on. The rise of both lawful and unlawful protests from various social groups, including those who have not taken industrial action for many years, suggests that the general public have far more objections that are presently being acknowledged, let alone heeded.

If we give the allegation of ‘the politics of hard emotionalism’ any credibility, then it is fair to wonder what kind of political viewpoint is being expressed here. The politics of callous disregard for the distress of others perhaps? If these so-called anti-reformers are emotional, then we might reasonably assume that the author regards his opinion as being devoid of emotion. He clearly disapproves of what he describes as the ‘politics of pity’ but a person who is not in touch with his emotional intelligence is unlikely to be able to distinguish between pity, compassion and empathy. From my perspective, any government that pursues policies which drive the poor towards suicide, whilst  claiming that suicide is an irrational response,  suggests that the economic policies of arrogance are at work. It allows indulgence in callous disregard for the right to a life worth living by all whilst assuming that right to be self-evident only for those who happen to be ‘rich’. It carries the stench of unrepentant fascism. This becomes much more apparent if the subject is turned on its head.

Supposing, for example, a general election tomorrow produced a majority government intent upon reforming the banking, tax and economic systems, which are now demonstrably corrupted in their function to favour the elite few at the expense of the general population, in favour of a system that worked the benefit of everyone. I wonder how rational and emotionless the author would feel then. My guess is that any resultant emotion would emerge within the enraged and highly aggressive spectrum of human expression. There might be the odd one or two who would contemplate suicide, but I can easily imagine far more among assailed elite who would resort to further criminal behaviour in order to ‘protect their interests’, prompted by their own personal and emotional irrationality. After all, who exactly needs to ‘own’ all this ‘money’ to such an excess that the needs of others are arrogantly dismissed. What is this placing of personal ego-requirements above the lives of other? It hardly sounds like mentally healthy social behaviour especially if, were this excess removed for the benefit of the whole, we might expect their already criminal behaviour to deteriorate further.

There is already clear evidence of irrational thinking emanating from our present government when we consider their behaviour at present during this LIBOR crisis. Somehow, unlawful and illegal wrongdoing by the public elite is considered far less urgent to our society than the savage cuts to welfare that actually being implemented. From a mole’s eye view, it might be reasonable to assume that David Cameron is in favour of criminal behaviour amongst his own, given that his approach seems to want to do as little as possible about it unless pressured to do so. This problem is vexing a large part of our national community and is probably contributing to the levels of disobedience from the ‘younger’ Tory MP’s with regards to the party whip. As an apologist for David Cameron, I wonder how the author views the notion that, in a mentally healthy society, there is one law applicable to everyone including the elite and that this present dual system of one law for the rich and another for the poor presently in operation is a sympton of dangerous mental illness. I thought the Tory Party believed in Law and Order – is Cameron’s government an example of how this works? If it is, I am deeply unimpressed.

For the record, I would be very interested in exploring new ways of structuring our society. Perhaps genuine job creation with realistic salaries might go much further in resolving the problems of national economic and welfare budgets than the callous and cruel methods of enforced poverty being applied at present. Perhaps an education system that encouraged intelligence, innovation and free thinking amongst its students could produce graduates from all levels of society capable of producing collective social wealth for all, as opposed to the sausage factory solutions for the poor currently being suggested by the privately-educated coalition. Perhaps a redistribution of wealth from the top to the whole might enable all of us to work our way out of the problems we find ourselves in. But I’d be surprised if Mr. O’Neill would engage in such discussions, let alone consider paying me whilst I did so. That he is, presumably, paid to peddle these apparently fatuous and callous ideas, whilst portraying me as welfare benefit scrounger, do far more to contribute to our social problems than to resolve them. His voice is heard in a national paper whilst mine is subject to active censorship.

Under these circumstances, the chance of my developing suicidal thinking leading to action when the next round of cuts arrives at my door is fairly high, despite the tremendous personal support I have received from my local community. I have a history of such thinking and, to my eye, it has a perfectly rational basis. As an intelligent, competent woman of later middle age, the chances of my finding work that would utilise my abilities and pay me a living salary are remote in the extreme in the present economic climate created by David Cameron’s coalition. To be forced to search for demoralising, devaluing and underpaid work will have a severely detrimental effect on my mental health. I am likely to conclude that my country sees no value in me other than as a kind of slave to either a profiteering employer or long-term recipient of the rapidly vanishing welfare state subject to cruel rules in order to receive rapidly diminishing ‘benefits’. I see no value to me in either of those options and if I am forced along either route, the likely result is my deciding to remove myself from society on a permanent basis. There is no joy to be had in living on these terms and I firmly decline to collude with it. Death is one way of registering my dissent. Writing this is another.

Whatever else Calum’s List might be, should I find myself successfully acting on my suicidal thinking, someone might at least notice and record it, which is more than Brendan O’Neill’s reality would do. In his expressed opinion, I am clearly not worth the effort of that which, in my humble opinion, says far more about him than it ever could about me.