Why we should vote Labour – a post copied from Proper Gander News

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I agree 100% with this article. I shall be voting Labour. The elite are running scared of Corbyn and the media have done a job on him but he stands for a decent set of values.
Meanwhile the Tories have got away with murder and destroyed our public services while giving tax cuts to their wealthy friends.

So.

After being promised that we’d be out of the EU by now, we’re not.
And after being promised that we were not going to get a general election, that’s now exactly what we are getting.

Anyone who has ever spoken to me for longer than ten minutes will know that I’m an avid Remainer.
So, ultimately, yes, I’m glad that Brexit didn’t go ahead on October 31st.

But I’m much more glad that we’ve been offered the election.

I’m so glad.

But I am not glad because of Brexit.
I’m not glad because of a better deal, or a second referendum – even though I want both of those things.
I’m not glad because I’m an unpatriotic remoaner.

I’m glad because we now have the chance to oust the Tories.
We have a chance to save this country.

For the last three years, all we’ve done is argue.
We’ve had our little factions and bickered over Brexit whilst our politicians have lied and played games and had meaningless vote after meaningless vote.
And whilst we’ve been bickering over Brexit, austerity has tightened its grip.

Since the Tories came into power, they’ve cut basically every public service they can get their hands on.
They’ve given massive tax breaks to the rich, whilst cutting benefits to the poor and the needy.
They’ve hit us with VAT hikes, and stagnated public sector wages, whilst the super rich get richer.
It’s costing us more to live, but our incomes are going down.
They’ve cut free school meals to needy children.
They’ve forced cancer sufferers back to work.
They’ve caused an increase in homelessness but, instead of giving them aid, they’ve given them spikes to sleep on.
They’ve cut our schools so much that our education system is failing and our kids are struggling.
Our police force are so underfunded that they just don’t have the staffing levels to keep up with the crimes being reported.
Firemen are having to work second jobs just to keep food on the table.
Nurses are using food banks.
Our NHS, envy of the world, is being intentionally cut and sold off to make way for private healthcare companies to make money out of our illnesses.

Yet we just sit about wittering about Brexit.
We keep voting for parties who promise to deliver Brexit, instead of the parties that promise to deliver safety, security, a good quality of life.

They point the finger and we look the other way.

Brexit isn’t going to be the answer to all our problems because, despite what the media would have you believe, it’s isn’t Europe who has caused the mess in this country.
It’s us.
We did.
By voting for a government that consistently undermines our needs and treats us like nothing.
That laughs about there not being a “money tree”, yet hoards vast amounts of money in off-shore bank accounts so they don’t have to pay their taxes.

Tell me again why we’ve voted them in.

Because we don’t want “extremist” Jeremy Corbyn, right?
And why the hell not?

Genuinely, we must have spent the last few decades moaning about how everyone in Westminster is cut from the same cloth, and how there is never any real choice yet, when we finally get someone different, we run scared and refuse to vote for him.

Since he first made an appearance in the Labour leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn has been a victim of a horrendous smear campaign and I would urge anyone to fact check anything and everything you read about him.
The media hate him with a passion.

And that, in a nutshell, is precisely why I’ll be voting for him.
He’s a danger to the establishment.
And that’s exactly what we need.

People have been sucked into this idea that he’s a terrorist-sympathising communist who hates Jews.

But he’s not.

He’s a man who was instrumental in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland, and even got awarded two international peace prizes for his efforts.
He’s a socialist who believes in decent public services and wants to renationalise our railways and NHS and repair our education system.
He doesn’t believe that people should be billionaires when others are starving to death.
He isn’t anti-Semitic, he’s against some of Israel’s policies – and he’s not wrong.
He’s spent his entire political career fighting for the rights of groups that he isn’t even a part of; women, disabled people, ethnic minorities.
He’s pro-animal rights and is an advocate of green environmental policies.
His policy regarding Brexit is to negotiate a sensible deal and let us vote on it – far removed from Boris Johnson’s gung ho “lets just drop out and hope for the best” attitude.

But he’s “unelectable”?
How is a man like that deemed “unelectable”?

Because the media tell us he is.
The media moguls who would be forced to pay more tax under a labour government, seek to scapegoat him and make you vote for the Tories.
Tories, who benefit them, not you.

The media isn’t unbiased.
The media is owned by people with an agenda.
And those people aren’t your friends.

They don’t care about you.
They care about money and profit margins.

Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to those profit margins, so they tell you he’s a danger to you.
He’s not.

The real danger isn’t the man with an allotment, who rides a bike and who wants an end to poverty.
The real danger are the people who will leave thousands in poverty to protect their billions.

We’ve been given a chance to change the course of this country, and we need to take it.
The NHS cannot survive another 5 years of Tory cuts.
It can’t.
It’s either going to collapse, or be sold off.
We’re going to lose everything.
And for what?
To line another fat cat’s pocket?

Wake up.
Please wake up.
This isn’t about Europe, or immigrants, or Brexit.
This is about a greedy, selfish government using public funds to line their own pockets.
Please don’t let them.

No more cuts.
No more deaths.
No more apathy.

For goodness sake, wake up.
For once in our lifetime we have someone with policies worth voting for, and we’re running the other way.

The Tories are pulling this country apart at the seams and we’re just letting them.

Now we have a chance to change that.

If you care about this country.
If you care about other people.
Our children, our elderly, our social workers and our teachers.
If you care about universal healthcare.
If you care about the rights and safety of others.
If you care about our animals and don’t support badger culling or fox hunting.
If you care about anything other than money.
Please don’t vote Tory.
Vote Labour.
Or Lib Dems or Green on SNP if you need to, but not Tory.

I’m voting Labour.
I’m voting Labour because they have the best chance of beating the Conservatives.
And I’m voting Labour because I stand with Jeremy Corbyn.

Not because I’m an extremist or a hippie or a snowflake, but because I want a better future for everyone, not just for myself.
And I think a Labour government has the best chance of doing that.

I think they’d be hard pressed to do much worse than what we’ve had this past decade.

So my plea to everyone who wants a better future is this.
Vote.
If, like me, you are a moderate misfit who wants better than this, then put your X on your ballot paper and make a stand.

No excuses about being powerless.
You want change, then you vote for it.
On our own we won’t make much of a difference, but together we can make waves.

Philip Davies is the MP in my constituency.
He won last term by just 5000 votes.
Let’s oust the anti-feminist, anti-LGBT+, pro-hunt up-skirting advocate and replace him with someone who actually gives a shit.
Let’s have an MP actually worth sending to Parliament.

Moderate, decent people too often spend their lives being quiet.
But we’ve been quiet too long and we’ve let this happen.
We can’t let it happen anymore.

December 12th.
Vote.
Vote for what is right.
Vote for change.
Vote Labour.

Don’t give the Tories another term to take more of what is ours.
Don’t do what the media tells you.

Don’t be the turkey that votes for
Christmas.

December 12th.
Vote.

Get the Tories out.

Our lives are not currency.
Our futures will not be gambled.
Keep your hands off our NHS!

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Killed by multinational capitalism – corporations that murder.

Killed by multinational capitalism – corporations that murder.

What I believe about Multinational Capitalism

 

This is what I believe:

  • I believe Multinational Corporations are destroying the planet
  • I believe they hold no allegiance to any country, people or ethics.
  • They exist entirely to make profit.
  • They are unscrupulous.
  • They pay their executives exorbitant amounts.
  • They control governments and nations through bribery, lobbying and threats of taking their business elsewhere.
  • The buy votes and politicians.
  • They use an army of lawyers to avoid paying taxes, avoid compensating victims, to flout laws and to avoid criticism.
  • They are responsible for the world’s inequality.
  • They control the media.
  • They do not care about people.
  • They do not care about the environment.
  • They will circumvent any law they can to increase their profits.
  • The profit they make goes to the shareholders and executives.
  • They like instability – they had profit from it.
  • They like war – they can profit from it.
  • They like poverty – they can profit from it.
  • They use politicians and governments to protect their interests.
  • There can be no democracy while they have power to control media and government.
  • The only people who can be elected have the support of Big Business billions. Poor people cannot get elected. So all governments represent the interests of big business.
  • They will pollute, destroy and pillage in order to make more profit.
  • They will use poverty as a means of reducing operating costs.
  • They will cut corners without concern for the impact on people or the environment.
  • They have created a monster that is presently eating up resources, causing immense pollution, changing the environment, creating inequality, fundamentalism and war, and destroying the planet.
  • The profits they are making goes to the top 0.01%. 99.9% of us are not profiting from this multinational corporative take-over. Half the world is starving.
  • We have created a monster that is going to destroy us in a mad rush to make more money for the few – at all costs.
  • This is the worst tyranny humans have invented.
  • Wild-life is being mindlessly sacrificed in the name of progress, expansion and growth.
  • We do not need growth. We need fairness, equality and justice.
  • This system cannot offer that. It is evil.

Anecdote – The Night of the big bust-up

Anecdote – The Night of the big bust-up

AppleMark

The Night of the big bust-up

John and Gwen lived upstairs in the rooms directly next to ours but in the other half of the house. To get to their place you had to do down the four stories on our side and up the four stories on theirs. It was good for the heart but we didn’t do it much. Gwen was a terrible cook. We went round for a meal which consisted of spaghetti with a tin of sweetcorn. I can’t say I relished it.

John was freshly out of prison for grievous bodily harm. He was a heroin addict and had a bit of a temper, particularly when he’d been drinking and was low on smack.

They had a baby. I think Gwen was hoping that the baby might have a stabilising effect on John. I couldn’t see it.

As we were on the top floor in the attic we had dormer windows that opened on to the roof. We both had cats and because we were at the top of the house they’d go out on to the roof. That was their territory. Our cat, Cherokee, was a black female and theirs was a ginger female. But they did not get on. In the middle of the night there would be an almighty caterwauling, yowling, hissing and spitting followed by an almighty fight. At the end of the fight on one occasion there was a great –

YEEEEEEEOOOOOOoooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!

 

Our Cherokee had knocked their cat off the roof. It fell five storeys into the basement and fractured all four legs. The vet’s bill was pretty hefty. Cherokee slid in through the window looking pretty pleased with herself.

John and Gwen were not amused.

On this particular night it was Terry’s birthday and he and Jane had invited John and Gwen out for a celebration at the local boozer. Gwen had asked us to baby-sit and had brought the baby round in a Moses basket.

At eleven o clock the bell rang and it was Gwen and Jane who were distraught and hysterical. We took them up and calmed them down with mugs of coffee to sober them up.

There had been an argument and a fight. John had beaten Terry up.

We just managed to settle them when the doorbell rang. I went down. It was Terry. He was mumbling and a bit incoherent. Partially because of the drink and partly because he’d bitten his tongue which looked as if it was partly severed.

‘My best mate,’ he mumbled. ‘I couldn’t hit him.’

I persuaded him to come upstairs and doused him with coffee. It was apparent that he had stood there and simply allowed John to batter him.  All he kept saying was:

‘He was my best mate. I couldn’t hit him.’

It was also apparent that his tongue was very badly damaged. It was like the end was hanging off.

We managed to calm everyone and then the doorbell rang. An electricity ran round the room. There was only one person it could be.

I went down and answered the door.

John was standing there.

‘Can you ask Gwen to give me the key to the flat,’ he mumbled not looking me in the eye.

I told him I’d go and get it. Just then Gwen came charging down the stairs clutching our bread knife and lunged for John.

‘YOUUUU BAAASTAAAARRRRD!!!’ she shrieked.

I grabbed her hand as John stood there unflinching. I was taking the knife off her when Terry came piling down the stairs.

‘My best mate,’ he said with quite a lisp. It’s hard to speak with your tongue hanging off. He tried to get the knife off me and stab John. Somehow we got Gwen and Terry back upstairs and I shut the door on John.

It all goes quiet.

It is now one o’ clock in the morning.

‘We’d better go round and get some things for the baby,’ Gwen reasoned. We’d sorted that the baby and her would stay with us for the night. Terry and Jane would go to A&E and get Terry patched up.

We went downstairs and up the other side. There we found John crashed out on the landing. He didn’t have a key so he couldn’t get into the flat. He was out for a light.

We stepped over him and opened the flat. We quickly got the nappies and essential items and came out. Terry stepped over John and took a few paces down the stairs. Gwen stepped over him and followed. I was just shutting the door when Gwen turned back and gave John a vicious kick in the ribs.

‘You Baaaassttttaaarddd!!’ She shrieked. ‘’Ruun!’

With that her and Terry belt off down the stairs leaving me having just shut the door and John between me and the stairs.

‘I just want to crash,’ John remonstrates blearily. ‘Just get Gwen to give me the key.’

I’m wishing I hadn’t shut the door.

‘I’ll go and get it,’ I say, edging past him.

I manage to squeeze past and head downstairs. Gwen is at the bottom with Terry. She refuses to give me the key. John is bellowing down.

We head back to our place.

John is evidently working himself up to a fury and decides to break in. We sit and listen as he smashes, kicks and batters the door into matchwood.

Once in the rage is there and we hear the sound of crashing and splintering as he wrecks the place.

Then it goes quiet.

The Universe in Shorts – A book of short stories

My new book of short stories – The Universe in Shorts – is now available in digital form on Amazon.

This book is a collection of my short stories and anecdotes dating from way back in the 1970s. The first section is Maslow’s Stranger, first written circa 1980 as The Stranger. This is followed by a selection of my Sci-fi short stories, then a range of other short stories and finished off with a few anecdotes. I decided it was time to bring them all together in one collection and put them out.I hope you find them interesting.

In the UK:

In the USA:

In India:

Thank you for looking!

 

The Universe in Shorts

The Universe in Shorts is my new book of short stories.

The main story is Maslow’s Stranger which is an allegorical story I first wrote in the 1980s. It also contains a number of Science Fiction short stories, a number of other short stories and some anecdotes.

It has been nice putting these together into a collection. I hope you will enjoy them.

The collection will be out in both digital form and paperback over the next few days.

Thank you for your interest.

Opher

Photography – Henry Millers place at Big Sur

Photography – Henry Millers place at Big Sur

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It was great to pop in to Henry Miller’s place at big sur.

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We went to the beach nearby and looked at the pebbles and the rollers crashing in. I could picture Henry doing the same.

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There was a flourescent humming bird around the flowers

Anecdote – My first kiss.

Anecdote – My first kiss.

 

My first kiss

I’m going to cheat here. To start with I’m going to discount all those parental smackers, and embarrassing smackeroos from salivary grandmas and aunties. They simply do not count.

For the first nine years of my life the thought of kissing girls was absolutely horrifying. Indeed you looked at older boys and shuddered. What on earth were they doing?

Technically my first kiss was during ‘kiss chase’. The girls loved it, and so did we, but I suspect for totally different reasons. To the girls it was about kissing boys. To the boys it was all about escaping from this most terrible fate. If you got caught and kissed that was horrendous. It made it exciting.

So I’ll rule out kiss chase as well. That was a game.

By ten my hormones were kicking in. Suddenly girls were not to be run away from; they were alluring.

But I’m still going to cheat – because I’m going to separate my first kiss into two types.

The first girl I kissed was Liz Staines. She was ten, like me, and in my class. She was sweet on me and I liked her. We would play together. I kissed her on the mouth.

It was a worrying thing. How were you going to manage it? Where did you put your nose?

I remember being concerned. In the event it was sweet and noses weren’t too much of a problem.

But tough I liked Liz, and that kiss was experimental and OK, it was a long way from the real thing. That came shortly after.

Glenys was a Welsh beauty. I was ten and a half and very innocent. She was the older vixen with the wanton ways who led me astray. She was eleven. I think maturity had arrived early for both of us.

I feel for her dark sultry looks and flashing eyes. She was my first love. She made my stomach churn and sent me into a whirly spin. I loved her.

I have no doubt that her hormones were just as active as mine, if not more so.

We spent a lot of time together that summer. I even gave up playing cricket in the street. We built dens and lay down in the long grass in the fields staring into each other’s eyes.

In her garage, my garage and those dens we kissed. It was just like in the films and went on for ten minutes or more. We called them real lover’s kisses. We shared twenty seven of these blood boiling embraces.

They were the hottest.

I count those as my first real kisses.

Photography – San Francisco – a few shots from January 2013

Photography – San Francisco – a few shots from January 2013

AppleMark

Our last trip to San Francisco was in January 2013. It was good to be back even if January wasn’t the best month. These are a few pics from our visit.

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AppleMark

AppleMark

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AppleMark

AppleMark

Poetry – Cosmic Dance

Cosmic Dance

 

Life is a dance,

Without rehearsal,

Moves of beauty

Elegance and eloquence

Play out

On a green jewel

Pirouetting

Through a void.

 

 

Each step

A glide

Into the unknown

Each gesture

A motif of defiance

Expressed

In joy.

 

Opher – 8.11.2019

 

 

My wife is a dancer. She sees the world through movement.

I too see it that way. It is beautiful.

The ripples of corn, the waves in the sea, the waving of branches, the shimmering of leaves.

A murmur of starlings, a shoal of fish, the breaching of a whale, the sprint of a leopard.

The waving of hands, the creases of a smile, the grasp of a handshake.

The orbit of planets, the radiance of a sun.

All life is a dance.

Anecdote – Road Sweeping Through the Floods on a Wave of Madness

Anecdote – Road Sweeping Through the Floods on a Wave of Madness

Road Sweeping Through the Floods on a Wave of Madness

The rain had been relentless but it had stopped. We had resumed our road sweeping duties. I was paired up with Jim. He was fragile. It was felt that he needed someone to work with because he was unstable. Jim had a mental condition. He was subject to psychotic episodes. For Jim reality was a very thin and highly transparent sheath; it kept breaking down. Jim’s whole life was a series of hospitalized episodes with spells in institutions. It was good that the council employed him. Jim was a pleasant, friendly, harmless soul who needed employment. Without it he would have vegetated.

We had both been on bin duties for a few days. The torrential rain had made sweeping roads extremely difficult. We’d largely confined our duties to emptying litter bins. Now it had turned fine and we were back clearing up the debris from the gutters and drains.

The area we were working in must have been low-lying. We were working our way steadily along when it happened.

There was a series of loud clangs.

I looked back down the road to where the noise had come from. The heavy cast-iron manhole covers for the sewers were exploding up into the air or pillars of water and clanging back to the ground. They were popping up all along the road and heading towards us. Each of the manholes was spouting a solid column of water four feet high.

I stood and watched with amazement. I had never seen anything like it. Fortunately there was no traffic or there could have been some serious accidents. Jim carried on regardless pretending that nothing extraordinary was happening.

The manhole covers near us shot up in the air on pillars of water. It was incredible. Those covers were solid cast-iron and weighed a lot. It took considerable force to lift them. They were popping up into the air like corks. The swollen river Mole had broken its banks. The water had gushed down the sewers and was erupting back out in the lower areas.

Within minutes the water was lapping up to the kerbs. Jim was continuing to sweep even though the water was flowing around his feet.

It was obvious to me that we had to move to higher ground quickly. The whole area was in the process of being flooded. I urged Jim to come out. He refused and was totally focused on sweeping, trying to ignore the water as if it was not happening.

I could see we had a problem. These strange events were outside the norm. Jim had learnt that things that happened outside the normal range of experience were usually figments of his imagination. They augured the start of a breakdown. Jim did not like that. It meant frightening periods of incarceration and treatment. All he wanted was normality.

Unlike me, who found the events of exploding manholes and fountains of water quite exciting, Jim found them terrifying. He was desperately trying to hold his world together. If he could just go on as normal it might all go away and he’d be alright. Exploding sewers were not part of the normal world.

Except it was real.

I coaxed Jim out of the water and got him t trundle his cart in front of mine up the rise away from the rapidly expanding lake of water. He was becoming more and more agitated as he tried to come to terms with what was happening.

At the top of the rise it was dry. A police car parked up and a policeman donned a white mac and took up post directing traffic away from the now deeply flooded road. He was standing at the edge of the water and waving cars away.

Jim took one look at him and thought that he’d been sent to pick him up. He lost it, ran across to the startled policeman and, in a highly agitated manner, started gibbering at him, clutching at him, and telling him that it was alright; he would go with him.

I managed to prise Jim off the bewildered man and lead him away. We went round a friend’s house. I made him a mug of tea and we played some Moody Blues. He liked classical music; that was the nearest we had. It soothed him and gradually he regained control of himself. It had frightened the wits out of him. We talked to him until he managed to grasp that it had been real and the river had merely overflowed and burst out of the sewers. It settled him.

There is a fine line between reality and the worlds inside the head. For some the fabric is exceedingly thin.