Utopia 0r walls.

Watched my namesake on telly last night smarmily demean his former boss, one Mr. Major. Now Mr. Major had made a speech suggesting that the tone of the ‘leading’ brexiteers was contemptuous towards those who voted remain and charmless towards those on the continent with whom it has to negotiate. I think that there is some evidence to support Mr Major’s assertions, not least from the irredeemably dense one’s own mouth, and when bullies such as him are called out they are totally unable to show any type of empathy or understanding and either belittle through smarm like ids or belittle through bluster like drumf.

Now Mr. Major is a ‘knight of the realm’ and has the moniker ‘sir’. I had that many years ago as a teacher but always felt uncomfortable being called such. The weirdest was teaching at my first special school in Wandsworth where staff called each other sir and miss, I was often pleading to be called by my name. Which makes me think that all this honours system is a little childish, like being at school. I suppose it’s another example that as you age and became a bit more aware, of the realisation that much of human behaviour is weird, childish and funny.

What is funny is farage being upset that he’s not been honoured with a knighthood, and he’s even more upset with ukip’s only mp douglas carswell who apparently wasn’t vigorous enough in his support of farage. farage is like an overgrown schoolboy still trying to throw his ugly weight around the playground.

Just got back from taking dear old Nan (she’s 100) to the hospital. After the appointment I offered to drive to the seafront and she said “yes please” with eagerness. She also spoke about it being pancake day and the carers cooking pancakes at her home, but didn’t think they’d have lemons and she loves loads of lemon juice and sugar on her pancakes. I offered to get her one, “ooh a big, fat, juicy one please”, I did and she was happy. We sat and watched the larger than normal waves crashing in from the sunlit sea, I think I enjoyed it more than Nan.

Listened yesterday to Mr Ed Vulliamy and others talk about walls on the wireless. He said that in many ways the big walls built by peoples of the past such as the Romans actually represented the limits of their ambitions, that they no longer felt able to expand their horizons and dreams. This mirrors our own times, apart from the obvious drumf Mexican wall and the pulling up of the brexit drawbridge, it also reflects our own lack of dreams. Where are the visions of earthly utopias? They are certainly not to be found with the current crop of politicians. Perhaps we can find them in lemons and watching waves.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

Taking the argument to the angry ones.

Just been listening to a brilliant podcast with Sam Harris talking to a republican writer David Frum:

Also I’ve successfully copied and pasted, not quite sure how.

Anyway he, David Frum came out with a great line: “happy people never become nazis”. This he extended to drumf and those who voted for him in that they are not happy people, they are angry people. It has been recognised that many who voted for him are angry; angry about jobs, angry about their declining living standards, angry about immigration, angry about the ‘liberal elite’, angry about anyone who expresses views different to theirs, angry about gerbils. Drumf himself is an angry person, just try and imagine him in therapy. If you can be bothered to listen to Mr Frum he has a lot of interesting stuff, especially about drumf’s finances and how he’s already using the presidency to boost his brand and wealth. It’s about time all the angry people were properly appraised of his financial crookedness as well as being a Russian dupe.

I think there are similarities over here, the anger used and directed by the likes of the grinning gargoyle (shacked up with his new French mistress), lying nuttals of the ukips, and the  brexiteers in general. Any suggestion that we’re not going to get a ‘hard exit’, no ‘soft bollocks’ with the angry hard folk, is met by an angry response.

So should the new Independence (or should it be Independents?) for Swanage be a fun party? The IFFS, Independence and Fun For Swanage party, certainly aligns well with party, because parties should be fun.

A fancy crossed my febrile brain this morning (I had my first acupuncture session yesterday which has changed me) about where do the conservatives meet in Swanage? The Labour, Liberal and Green parties are all easily contacted with easy internet searches, so far after quite extensive searches and phone calls to the town hall and the conservative club have been unsuccessful in elucidating about any local conservative party meetings.

Oh silly me, every council meeting is a local conservative party meeting.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.00-02c-12-10-11-political-cartoons-tea-party

Independence for Swanage.

In the olden days of this blog I simply had to copy and paste links and it was very easy to pepper the blog with relevant links. Over recent weeks it’s become progressively more difficult and I either have to learn ever more complicated ways or upgrade on wordpress. I’ve just wasted another half hour of my life trying to sort out a link to the old Independent with a story about how Frome gained an independent council in 2011, so if anyone reading this wants to read it you’ll have to make up your own search question. I wonder whether there are any generational differences or degrees of computer literacy that make it more or less difficult to do this? I suspect, with my elitist brain, that some who are used to just clicking on links and being lead through life may find finding things out for themselves a tad more difficult. Anyway here’s the address of the Independents for Frome website, their story is inspiring iffrome.org.uk  Might even be inspiring for the typical town councillor; imagine going to meetings where it’s usually just you and a bunch of other middle aged men (sprinkled with the occasional woman), having to tow the party line, all pretty much thinking and saying the same bollocks.

A little while ago I met my mate Steve in Bristol, he’s a Green councillor there and said I’d love the council meetings. But what struck me was Steve saying the Greens are the only councillors who can speak their mind, the others are severely constrained by their political party machines. Seems to me another good reason to rearrange local politics from the bottom up and having independents as in Frome. IFS eh? Let’s sort out a proper group, not based on single issues or personal aggrandisement, but of people who want to shake up moribund local politics and create a council that really represents the local community.

My very limited experience of local politics in Swanage has been a very dispiriting one, the ‘one party state’ does not allow for any deviation from their narrow Conservative views. I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had about the local council, it would seem it’s been a ‘closed shop’ for ever?

I have been a Labour supporter all my life but I’m sure I would not be the only socialist who would forego party politics to shift things at a local level, if for no other reason than we’ve become far too divided in recent times.

Just imagine a new vibrancy about Swanage, council meetings that are fun and that people actually look forward to, too often it seems that they are either the same old same old or are reactive in nature and some folk are up in arms about something or other. I am very aware that individuals and groups and dear Nico at the Gazette have tried in the past, but change will only come with a total revamp of the council. How many councillors have been on the council for ever, surely they’re bored, or do they keep going purely for the good of the community?

Independence for Swanage.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

How can local democracy in Swanage and Purbeck be shifted.

I’ve written before of ‘the one party state of Swanage’, the same can be applied to the Isle of Purbeck. The area in terms of local democracy is, and has been since the Danes left their balls atop the column on the Swanage seafront, under the rule of a single party, the conservatives. There has always been a very large, if not total, tory majority and I suspect pending further research there’s always been a tory mayor in Swanage. Tough Duncan, that’s democracy for you, it’s what the people voted for.

True, but a rather myopic view. It means and has meant that Swanage and Purbeck have only ever been ruled by the tories, it is a one party state. Other views, perspectives, ideas, thoughts, dreams and ideals are not countenanced. And there are many within the locale who are not of a politically conservative persuasion. Every local election has candidates representing other political parties or those who try to change things by posing as independents. The other ‘major’ parties, Labour, Liberal, Greens and ukip will just have their candidates. Independents get fired up, want to change things put themselves forward and even when well supported and popular are crushed by the tory machine.

If one cares to look at the numbers, which I did last year and will be doing so again this week, whilst the tories invariably get the most votes in any ward (Avril is currently the Labour exception) the non-tory vote can add up to more than the tory vote. So as has been suggested occasionally for parliamentary elections why don’t non-tories convene and put forward just one candidate in each ward. Perhaps if people know there is a chance of an alternative to the tories there may be larger voter turnout. We could have a new and more representative council.

I think that the odd popular, hard-working and more conciliatory tory may well keep their seats but the important thing is that we might have a council that is truly more representative and we might have a more vibrant, inclusive, fun, exciting, forward looking and prosperous Swanage and Purbeck. I’m sure that many have been dismayed at the moribund nature of our council and our representatives and wished, occasionally been energised, to do something. Oh I’m sure we would immediately hear of all the old arguments to keep the status quo (rip Rick Parfitt). I’m also sure that others in the non-tory political parties would find it anathema to work with others. But, for a moment at least, let your imagination go and imagine a community that welcomes all, creates more, does more, I could create a long of particular examples right now, I know others could too.

I will cogitate on this more over the next few days, dissect the electoral data, actually go to a Labour Party meeting and make proposals. We have a national tory government that have already eviscerated local government and things are going to get much worse in the next few years, just think of the current state of our health and social services. I think that at the very least we can change things just a little from ‘below’ by having an alternative at local level by moving on from our ‘one party state’. Here’s to hopey changey stuff.

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

To smile when all around…….

Went to another meeting with a cancer support group this week, Butterflies in Poundbury, Dorchester. I go to these meetings to present myself and my unctuous story and despite my feelings of insecurity and self-doubt they’ve gone well so far in terms of people expressing interest and getting involved in discussion. This one began as with others and discussion was open and free flowing until a woman who had arrived late started talking. It was her first time at this group and she told a truly heart wrenching story about herself, all the time with a big beatific smile on her face. Essentially she has very recently been diagnosed with having several tumours in her brain, doctors giving conflicting views on treatment and the high probability of impending death. How in the last week she’s been given heavy duty treatment which has severely compromised her life, for example she can’t drive, and very disconcerting ‘side-effects’. She has a dying mother, young daughter on the threshold of adulthood and she’s sorting them all out and their futures, planning her funeral, exploring possible treatments and more and she’s still smiling. I’m blown away.

The meeting finishes, some buy my unction as a man beside me with a face disfigured from the ravages of cancer and it’s treatment opens up to me about problems in his personal life. I leave feeling out of sorts, the pathetic psychosomatic me is interpreting all my aches and pains as signs of more cancer, as I drive I think maybe I should give these meetings a miss for a while, my fragile psyche can’t cope. I rationalise that I go as a one off stranger to these groups and hear about others crabby stories, everyone personal and unique to the individual. It just seems to raise my personal anxieties.

The following day I’m called from a woman at the meeting who apologises for not talking to me before I left as she’d gone off with the aforementioned smiling woman to talk more. She tells me more about this woman, we are both blown away. Anyway she tells me that it was a really good meeting and my ‘talk’ had gone down well and had allowed and encouraged others to participate. She represents another support group in Poole and invites me to one of their meetings and despite my vow of the previous day I agree.

How fickle I am, but perhaps not as much as drumf.

Truly we are living in very strange times, I’ve just had a youtube blowout listening and watching a number of different folk talking about what is happening in drumfland. I think we need to stick the fucker in a sealed echo chamber until we find out what the hell is going on. The manboy is so evidently unfit, and listening to the likes of kellyanne conway and the extremely chilling stephen miller, a senior advisor to the narcissist, dissembling and distorting what is happening that it’s impossible to get a handle on stuff. Not sure who is more like goebbels, this miller character or bannon. He’s been the president for less than a month and already there are so many impeachable possibilities that he needs to be strait jacketed and a dummy put in his gob until people are in a proper position to understand what the hell is going on.

First up should be an investigation into his handshaking.

Closely followed by his financial situation. I am increasingly of the opinion that he is broke, or more precisely deeply in debt: to deutsche bank, the Russians and who knows who else. He still refuses to release his tax returns, every president is expected to do this, so why is this? Maybe he’s relying on a deal with the Russians through tillerson from which he’ll cash in to cover his debts. Portraying him as failing financially would be the biggest blow to his ego.

Anyway back in the ‘real world’, wherever that is, did my first day as a volunteer marine warden at a place called Kimmeridge, the first voluntary marine nature reserve in the UK. It was good to be in a different environment experiencing new stuff. I still want to be a ranger though.

And finally I’ve had confirmation from a variety of sources, not including my canine friend, of the mass resignation of pretty much the whole of the senior management team at Purbeck View School. Whilst a replacement head has been in place for a few months this represents a seismic shift for the institution. As ever no one is told why, except maybe personal reasons, family, gardening and the like. But what the bosses don’t seem to understand is that this secrecy only serves to make situations worse. Rumour is rife, people are unsettled and the one resignation needed, that of a member of the legion of narcissists who sadly are in power, is yet to happen.

For the woman who told her story with a smile on her face:

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Tribalism.

Well what a game of rugger on Saturday between Wales and their ‘old enemy’ England. I went to a pub called the King’s Arms in little Langton Matravers. The cosy public bar was full of rugger buggers, the ale was flowing and the atmosphere expectant and nervy, England have in the past been undone by the fervour in Cardiff; Wales (as do many other teams) always raise their game when playing the haughty English but this English team are coached by the brilliant Eddie Jones, an Aussie born in Tasmania to an Australian father and Japanese mother, and they have a different temperament about them.

In my darker days I was a very tribal rugby supporter, as a callow 14 year old I went to Twickenham with my old man to see my first rugby international which happened to be between England and Wales. In those days Wales were a brilliant team and usually beat England, but for a change England won and half way through the match a Welshman sat in front of me turned and said “in the past half hour I’ve begun to hate you boyo”, I think my tribal exhortations had riled him. I now wonder where this tribalism came from, though I must admit it felt energising and somewhat exciting. As I’ve slowly matured I have gradually divested myself of this one-eyed nationalism and begun to appreciate the games for what they are as sporting contests. And yet on Saturday, as Wales were leading with 15 minutes to go, the primal feelings were bubbling and when England scored the winning try with a few minutes to go everyone leapt and cheered as one.

Overall I enjoyed my first experience of watching the rugger at The Kings Arms but one thing has left me bothered. As I purchased my half-time ale I spotted an old friend in the adjoining bar, I called through and we spoke. I then spotted another who I didn’t initially recognise and said hello, he said “I didn’t know you were a rugger bugger Duncan”. Now these gentlemen are supporters of the Liverpool association soccer club and had come to watch them play the Tottingham Hotspurs. After the rugby had finished I left the public bar in a slight state of euphoria and then popped my head into the soccer watching room on my way to the toilet. I enquired as to how all the association soccer followers were, some smiled others hurled mild insults. After relieving myself (in the toilet mind) I again popped my head around the corner of the soccer watching room and somewhat provocatively enquired whether anything had happened as it all seemed quite subdued, the room briefly animated in antipathy towards me. I left and walked jauntily home.

Later I reflected and thought there had been some animus directed at me, now some might be territorial as the footie fuckers (well they call us rugger buggers) were ousted from their normal soccer watching room. I also detected a distinct whiff of class enmity as there is and has long been a class difference between the two sports, rugby is definitely a sport played and watched by more middle and upper class folk. I can exist in more than one social bubble. Anyway, I felt a little unsettled and became reactive thinking that the soccer watching room resembled an old style boys school classroom (there were no women sat there though quite a few were watching the rugby). All the soccer watching menfolk were sat in rows at their desks looking at the blackboard/t.v. screen, when I observed on both occasions the room was silent apart from the footie commentator.

Maybe, as sport is now the opiate of the masses, and the main drug is soccer which is so ubiquitous that a certain numbness is gradually descending. I for one have painfully and slowly learnt that occasional highs are much better than frequent doses.

And what is happening at Purbeck View School? I mentioned a little while ago of the resignation of the acting head of care, well last week the former head of care, the head and deputy head have all apparently resigned en masse. I still await confirmation, anyone know of the veracity of this and if so an enormous why is asked. As ever I believe that openness is the best way, the secretiveness of ancient regimes breeds ill. The tribes need to parlay.

And tribes can be so fickle:

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Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

Private education: it’s a sad, sad situation.

Awoke this morning wondering whether I should feel bad going on about matt the twat, how would I feel if someone went on about what I’d written in the same vein? Well I’ve had a little trolling and whilst it was initially unsettling I soon reconciled stuff in my little brain as I pondered on what the trolls had written and those that parodied my writing are in some small way flattering. Judging by matt the twats comment yesterday and subsequent comments to others’ comments reflection is clearly not one of his attributes. I’m afraid I haven’t yet reached the moral heights of The Boss, having just finished his autobiography Born to Run he is clearly not as judgmental as I and would be more mature in his reaction to matt the twat. And I’ve just discovered Father John Misty and here’s his Bored in the USA:

One line in the song is “and they gave me a useless education” which I have some sympathy with, even though I didn’t get an education in the USA. Like matt the twat I had an English grammar school education from which I’m still scarred and having to battle such things as my horrible judgementalism of the likes of matt the twat. But it has helped fuel my righteous anger which was refuelled this morning listening to reports of how private school pupils get significantly more help when taking exams on the grounds of special educational needs than state schooled pupils who have special educational needs.

Before reacting judgementally like me try and ponder awhile……….enough, these are pupils who are already very much more advantaged in terms of smaller classes, more teachers, far more resources in all areas of education, greater leg ups in life from familial connections and the connections their school’s will have, deeply embedded societal advantages, so many eh? And now we learn that those who have special educational needs are more special than ‘bog standard state school pupils’. Beyond the list I’ve just made when they come to take their exams they are more likely to get longer to do them, fucking fair eh? Not. Fucking unfair.

But hey Duncan, life’s not fair you simple idealistic twat.

But wait, just ponder a little while more and the scales will fall and an explanation for our national ineptitude clarifies. Because there are so many advantages conferred on those who get a private education it allows the intellectually mediocre to rise far more and assume positions of power and influence to which they are, in terms of our national wellbeing, wholly unsuited. Include here your own examples.

It’s sad so sad

It’s a sad, sad situation

And it’s getting more and more absurd.

dae476f070d6576a964375e807ed1911Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.