W(h)ither local democracy (in Swanage)?

It’s a funny old world; yesterday i have a lovely conversation with Jason Haisleden about last week’s Swanage parish council meeting and things general, i mention my duncancer blog which has bumbled along these last months, he checks out the ‘One Party State of Swanage’ piece, says he likes it on faceache and the blog has it’s best viewing figures ever. My feelings are conflicted, the vain part of me smiles whilst the modest part of me questions. Then, such is the nature of our interweb that when trying to check if Jason has a blog on WordPress as the site suggests i ‘google’ Jason’s ID and top of the list is an amateur porn site!

Also checked out the possibility of me standing for mayor in Swanage, seems somewhat unlikely as the mayorship is voted for (or whatever process the tt councillors cook up amongst themselves) between the councillors. I feel that perhaps they might not consider little old me. So it will have to be plan B to resurrect local democracy. Although i suspect that terminology isn’t right as you can’t resurrect something that’s never existed.

Now, in the interests of truth and accuracy, i intimated in a previous blog that all our town councillors are tory when we actually have one Labour councillor and eleven tories. The Labour councillor, Avril Harris, pipped john lejeune by a mere 4 votes last year. Must have been galling for the tts to have failed to get a clean sweep by such a small margin and one must ask why mr lejeune failed to get the 1000 plus block votes typically garnered by the other tory candidates? Anyway, must be fun for Avril at all the committee meetings.

What bothers my small and fevered brain is that our sweet little voting system produces such an unrepresentative council. In last year’s elections 13673 voted tory and 9534 voted other, an overwhelming tory win one might think. It certainly is in terms of representation on the council (would’ve been even more overwhelming if mr lejeune had pulled his finger out). But this is how a ‘first past the post’ system works at a local level, which is somewhat different when compared to the same system applied at the national level. In our national parliament whilst there is a tt majority (helped brought about by dodgy funding in key marginals, thanks to Channel 4, which is now under threat of privatisation by whiplash) there is at least the opportunity for a number of differing political perspectives to be considered. This doesn’t happen in sleepy old Swanage, and whilst I’m sure it happens in local councils across the country of different political persuasions, it does mean that our local council is not representative and leads to ossification. This is not good for Swanage, it denies the opportunity for fresh thinking, new projects, creating a dynamic local community (think housing, business, young folk, old folk, health, my thalassotherapy dream and much more) and encourages nepotism and dodgy handshakes.

In the absence of my mayorality what options might there be? Proportional representation? All non-tt candidates standing under one moniker such as ‘not the tory party’? Direct action? Any other ideas?

So, in my lovely chat with Jason yesterday he told me of the council meeting this week which seems to be have been appallingly chaired by some chain-wearer. After the chain-wearer’s wobble at last week’s parish council meeting he took it further this week and threw all his toys out the pram and the meeting will now be reconvened next week. I thought tories were all for efficiency? I must bear witness next week.

And at a national level it is becoming increasingly clear to all the evil nature of thatch and co with the unlawful killing verdict with regard to the Hillsborough tragedy. Even now bernard ingham, thatch’s press secretary at the time, is continuing to promulgate evil lies and falsehoods. An example of the class war she and others have wrought and are continuing to wrought. Let’s have all those evil doers in the dock: the politicians, the press, the police and shine the light of truth for all to see. I know, truth is yet another subjective concept, but it is time for some proper balance and representation, just like in Swanage.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS good luck Steve, he’s standing as a Green candidate in Brizzle local elections.

Language lets us down.

A very interesting piece in Saturday’s review about medical writers which has fired my fancy to do some more research. It focuses on language and communication and how hard it is for patient and doctor alike. This “language gap” comes about because the patient doesn’t have the language to explain their problem, this leads to doctors failing to understand. Then doctors use language that patients don’t understand, either with regard to any diagnosis, or treatment or both. A litany of tests may elicit greater understanding but may also add to the confusion. What might lead to a better state of affairs is through something called ‘narrative medicine’, whereby patients tell their story of illness and doctors tell theirs to try and understand. Having used narrative for my masters research and been excited by my experience with the group after my treatment there is a distinct possibility of pursuing doctoral research in combining the two. Doctor Duncan eh? Shit, like Mr Angry I think titles a bit dodgy.

But not as dodgy as that supreme example of a klepto mr philip green who as the employees of BHS face being swindled out of their pensions awaits arrival of a boat worth £100m, and called boatymcpaidforoutofstolenpensionsface. The two may be connected and if so the fucker should be jailed.

I can’t believe I forgot to watch or even listen to the match today. Some might question my allegiance to the Leicester soccer team, yet, ever since Nobby Evans shimmied his way past bemused defenders and No-nonsense Nuttall made Norman ‘bite yer legs’ Hunter look like a vicar at a tea party I’ve been a Leicester Luvvie.  No matter, the mighty Foxes took another step towards the most unlikely premiership title ever today.

Well as ever it comes down to economics and I’ll be voting to remain as that will mean the exchange rate will be better and we’ll have more euros to spend on holiday. And could you in all honesty vote for leaving the EU when, after a ‘brexit’, negotiations may be led by the likes of boris bunter, gove, grayling, irretrievably dense shit all of whom have had stellar careers in leading government departments and London mayor.

Went to a wonderful pub in nearby Wareham on Saturday, The King’s Arms. Can’t believe I’ve lived in the area all these years and never been there. Kate and I said what a brilliant local that would be, but also very dangerous. We then went to the local cinema, an equally wonderful old style cinema that still has gas lights, only to find it closed for refurbishment. Soon determined that the film we’d come to see was being shown in the parish hall nearby. And what an absolutely wonderful film it was, a French comedy: La Famille Belier. Me and my soppy date were in floods of tears when the heroine sang the following: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ky4ap_louane-je-vole-clip-hd_music

Interesting how music moves us so much more easily than the language of words, but get them right together and the magic happens. Maybe patients and doctors could sing to each other?

And I was also moved to floods of tears when I saw a photo of myself. Not only am I cursed with a name that I share with an incredibly duplicitous shit but I also look like the drumf!

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Still, off to JC4PM at Bournemouth BIC tonight, should be fun.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

A chink in the kleptocracy?

A second blog in one day, why Duncan you spoil us, or is that bore us? But I’ve just read that one klepto by the name of mark cutifani (funny name eh?), chief embezzlement officer of anglo american, in response to a significant vote against his kleptonic pay said the following:

“It is always difficult to get the [reward] formula right in any one year but in the end it’s not my decision or a personal conversation, it is society that decides what is fair and how much a footballer or other professional is worth. I understand that debate.”

So, fellow members of society who’s for starting a societal campaign to repatriate the kleptos looting?

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Sign of the Times.

So I read how appalling it is to begin paragraphs and the like with words like so and anyway, and I’d like to add and. All 3 words I typically use. And I wonder why this is so? Who are these arbiters, these ‘gauleiters’? It has been argued that communism, fascism and other political creeds inevitably lead to conformity and a narrowing of thought and action and there is some validity to this. But we also live in times of conformity, and for the want of an overarching politics I’ll stick in ‘neoliberalism’, the supposed capitalist, ‘entrepeneurial’, let the ‘market’ rule dogma as our current political master. And all around me I see increasing conformity.

Perhaps this is why so many of us feel so sad with the apparently unprecedented series of deaths of so many creative folk: Prince, Bowie, Victoria Wood to name but three. They all came to the fore artistically before ‘neoliberalism’ and it’s acolytes got their grubby hands on the power and the loot. And now we have a world where money and kleptomania rule. We have an education system that is increasingly narrow, any creativity has been audited out and ‘education’ is not as it should be: the enlightening or ‘drawing out’ but more the utilitarian  “process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.” And much of it geared to how well an individual can do economically. But it is also the case that any of the three I mentioned would find it so much more difficult in today’s world to make their way. Our current artistic and cultural world is increasingly dominated by the privately educated, those lucky enough to have been born into wealthy families.

And kleptosorrel continues alongside his fellow ceo gang to steal so very much, which ultimately comes from the rest of us, the commonwealth that we create. It makes me so angry when these fuckers claim that it’s their ‘entrepeneurialism’, their ‘risk taking’ that makes them worth it.

Sadly much of the so-called eu debate centres on money, probably reflecting our age, and not stuff such as social well-being, education, culture and more.

Anyway, happy birthday Betty, 90 glorious years on benefits.

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life

such a shame that so few make life so hard for so many.

Still, off to the Bournemouth BIC next Tuesday for an event called JC4PM with Billy Bragg, other musicians, comedians and political folk. Should be fun, but i really want to take a tt with me. And do i really want to run for mayor?

Many years ago i went to a Prince concert. At one point he was on a large bed which was hoisted over the crowd. A bloke sat next to me put his hand on my knee and expressed the wish to be on the bed with Prince. I said “that’s nice” as I removed his hand.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

The one party state of Swanage.

With UBI it’s universal basic income, although unconditional somehow works better as it gets away from all the pejorative language the tts have introduced and encouraged with regard to benefits. One comment raises the point that we already have a form of UBI with the state pension and perhaps we could start extending it to younger folk and see how it goes, except governments are doing the opposite so that poor people who die younger get even less. Still, what do you expect from tory twats, yet even I was a little shocked when I went to the annual Swanage parish council meeting last night.

I’d had an email from someone from a group called Saving Swanage about how there would be a public vote at the meeting with regard to policies relating to council owned land, that is land owned by the Swanage public. There is a place called California Quarry just to the south of Swanage town owned by a family firm called Suttle and seems like there might be gas under them thar hills.One member of the Suttle family is a town councillor and has been mayor a couple of times. There’s already been one exploratory drill and another pending.

Anyway, acces to the quarry is via a council owned road which is pretty narrow, at times very steep and access to it is along various residential roads of Swanage. There is very reasonably some concern about many aspects of the use of this road by industrial traffic. Over recent years the councillors of Swanage (who are pretty much all tory, even the independents) have discussed the drilling and perhaps only represented a narrow group of the people they’re supposed to represent and who happen to own the land and businesses that might profit from any dealings.

Anyway at the end of the meeting one Jason Haisleden quite bravely stood to make a number of proposals with regard to the council owned road, which is, therefore, owned by the denizens of dear old Swanage town. There was a fair amount of harrumphing, especially from an elderly gentleman sat right behind me. The tt councillors were sat serried along the front row with the mayor, the town clerk and a couple of other officials sat at a table at the front facing the audience. Jason presented 4 proposals, all sounded quite reasonable to my untutored ears and there were votes at the end of each. People raised the cards they’d been given on arrival, first the vote in support which were counted by the town clerk, he said a number which I didn’t think tallied and then counted those against. Like a North Korean meeting all the front row raised their cards and others were chivied by the mayor to raise theirs, good to see an impartial chair of proceedings. We lost the vote, but as I suggested it did seem like the voting for putin.

Anyway, Jason doggedly presented his second proposal and voting duly done, this time  I counted all those who voted against and it definitely didn’t tally with the clerk’s and the tts narrowly won by dodgy counting. To my shame I did not point this out. During Jason’s third proposal the mayor rattled his chair as if in his pram and said he’d had enough and that it should end, I think others pointed out that Jason had every right to carry on. Various others questioned why this was happening as it wasn’t on the agenda and there had been no forewarning. Jason calmly pointed out that this was their only opportunity to present any views other than those of what could be described as the rather unrepresentative councillors.

Meanwhile one Jack Daniels (sic) of this parish held his phone aloft to record proceedings, so there is some use for these mobile devices. This apparently upset one of the tt councillors who berated him afterwards for filming, how dare he try and bring some openness and transparency to proceedings.

Anyway, the persistent Jason presented his third proposal and this time success, we won by 1 vote. The final proposal really summed things up for me as it was about the company, suttle’s, who use the road and any other company who might use the road for commercial reasons be, quite reasonably, responsible for any damage their lorries do and it not fall to the humble citizens of Swanage to pick up the tab. All reasonable folk in the meeting voted for this and the vote was won quite comfortably despite the massed rank of the front row. Just think on a little about what these tts had voted for. I was somewhat perturbed and it was extremely clear to me that this small cabal of councillors were not at all representing their electorate. Some are of the opinion that local councils should not be party political and I now have some sympathy with this view. At the very least though and to encourage greater participation, there should be some sort of proportional representation to properly reflect all views and interests within the community. We have a one-party state in sleepy old Swanage.

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PS the clerk said that these proposals are in no way binding and will be presented to the town council for discussion and……………..The people have spoken and their representatives will…………………………

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Let’s declare UBI.

So Follow the Money finishes and the main baddy is got, but only as we learn that there’s a mainer baddy behind him. Much like the way the Panama Papers have been panning out with much focus on condom features and co and little focus or revelation on the bigger baddies.

Still we live in hope and such is supplied by the concept of UBI; unconditional basic income. Unconditional in that everyone, even the kleptos, get this income. The idea has been around a while but is actively being tested in different places around the world: I’ve mentioned Utrecht in Holland before and it’s spreading to other Dutch towns and the Swiss are having a referendum on it in June. Already there is evidence that it has a number of benefits such as reduced health problems, increased happiness, greater ‘aspiration’ and higher productivity. As automation and robots take over more jobs seems to make good sense to me, alongside reducing the working week and hours. Could have a proper ‘big society’. Stick it alongside all accumulated wealth being redistributed on death, because it is a tad unfair that some get such an unfair advantage in life by dint of being born into wealth. Ooh er something like a true meritocracy might evolve.

So Kate and I had our maiden voyage in our new vessel yesterday, an inflatable kayak. We drove to the nearby Studland Peninsula to paddle in Poole Harbour. We parked roadside, pumped it up pretty quickly then carried it over heathland to the water’s edge. The tide was beginning to come in but it was too shallow and we didn’t fancy walking in mud so we walked about a mile along the coastline before we found a suitable launch place. We managed to get in without too much mishap and began paddling.

Poole Harbour is second only to Sydney harbour in size and is subject to fairly strong tides. The wind was quite a strong southerly and the tide was flowing the opposite way so novice mariners like us were soon confused when our vessel didn’t behave as we expected. Kate was very brave, she is very fearful of the sea. We weren’t wearing lifejackets, probably not essential with depths of almost 3 feet all around (I know you can drown in a millimetre of water). After about 5 minutes of pretty random paddling I managed to get some idea of what was happening, but the tide had taken us a little way out and Kate was worried. We paddled back to shore and returned to the car. So we had paddled the kayak about 400 yards and carried it about 2 miles! But we learnt a great deal.

And taking kids off for a similar paddle would be of far greater benefit to them than much of what passes for ‘education’ in our country. The system is absolutely fucked, everyone get out on the strike on the 3rd May

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And thanks to Alan Healey of Bishops Castle for the following: “The HMRC director general of enforcement and compliance claims, with obvious pride, that HMRC “have brought in more than £2bn in additional revenues from the richest 500,000 taxpayers over the last six years” (Letters, 15 April). For those less sad than I am, who haven’t done the sums, that works out at £666 a person each year. I’d get out more if only I could afford it, but it’s good to know that HMRC is on the case.”

See, more evidence that the tts are evil.

4ce32b01b01afbbb47d1d1ed34375342   Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

The Class Ceiling

Thank you Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett for providing me with the term ‘class ceiling’ as it captures much of what I’ve been banging on about for years now. Class is so ingrained in our society that most of us don’t really see it let alone understand  it and certainly don’t express much will to change it. If you can be bothered to say or do anything a whole array of responses from all classes come into play to keep you ‘in your place’. It saddens me; not so much the expected that comes from the ss, the silver spoon brigade, they just make me angry, but when others who are subjected to class discrimination behave in subservient ways and do the work of keeping you ‘in your place’. As Ms Coslett reports there are those who fatalistically talk about ‘the cards they’re dealt’ or ‘it’s the way it is’. There are those who behave like sickening lapdogs and do all they can to please their masters and mistresses, as if doing so they’ll get some crumbs of power or privilege. Yet others raise their eyebrows when anyone suggests that the class system might be very prevalent and very wrong, ‘you’re so boring Duncan’. There are others in denial who either do ‘OK’ in life or grab whatever they can of the titbits thrown our way such as a grammar school place for their kids or a bit of sky sport. There are others who’ll approve of those who’ve made it from ever so humble backgrounds and tell you to be like them.

And whilst we behave like this with each other the tts, the kleptos, the gilded ones carry on somewhat blithely in their primped and pampered world. Even when the curtain is temporarily drawn back such as with the Panama Papers and we see how our current prime minister has been provided with such privilege, power and wealth through being born to the upper echelons of our class system. That they behave with contemptuous impunity to the exposure of their thievery because they know that although there will be a slight chop in the water the class system will soon dampen things down. We don’t take to the streets like the French and their recent ‘Nuit Debord’, we vent at benefit scroungers and immigrants, vote ucrap, read the mail and the like, but mostly we turn inward and harm ourselves, self-mutilate by eating the shit we’re sold, stare endlessly at screens, take prozac, and support manufuckingnited.

We pay our taxes, do our best and hope for a better future for ourselves and our children but as long as we have our corrupted class system the kleptos will just carry on getting wealthier and entrenching the system for themselves and their children.

If only Kliban were alive today:

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.