Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale – coming true in America today!

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) is a novel of speculative fiction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, the dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.

Religious bigots are taking control. They are intent on controlling women and taking away their rights. Sex is taboo. Women’s bodies are no longer their own.

The misogynistic religious culture emanating from ancient Arab nomadic cultures is on the rise.

I am a Barcode

I am a Barcode

I’ve become a barcode,

A commodity.

I sit upon a shelf

And dream of being free.

My dreams are sold

As merchandise

Alongside aftershave

And forbidden rice.

I’m a product of

The twenty first century.

All is bought

Nothing’s for free.

Everything has a price

But no worth.

Equipped with a price tag

From the moment of its birth.

I’ve become a barcode,

A commodity.

I sit upon a shelf

And dream of being free.

Opher – 6.12.2020

The whole planet is up for sale, every tree, fish and insect has a price.

Pay enough and you can have a pet whale!

Every forest is there for profit, every chimp and rhino.

Every idea has value.

Everything we do is bought and sold.

There are businessmen wanting to bribe politicians to sell the future.

My barcode is evident in everything I do. I have no other purpose.

Poetry – Servants of the People

Servants of the People

It’s never the people who create war,

                They just die for the cause.

It’s the leaders who serve the people

                Who take the applause.

Protectors of the nation,

                                They give their orders loud and clear

                For us to die for our country

                                No price is too dear.

Psychotic, paranoid narcissists;

                They prepare the people well.

Ratcheting up fear and propaganda

                Before blowing them to hell.

They are supposed to be our servants,

                Though you’d never guess.

They think they are superior

                But we clear up their mess.

These grandiose leaders

                Live in their opulent bubble.

Inflated opinions of themselves

                With us to sort the trouble.

It’s never the people who create war,

                They just die for the cause.

It’s the leaders who serve the people

                Who take the applause.

Opher – 3.5.2022

Standing for high office – it’s rarely the ‘normal’ folk. It’s people with big egos, narcissists with no doubts, psychotics and sociopaths who simply do not care and paranoid maniacs who are prepared to sacrifice the world.

Why can’t we be led by people who have compassion, who really do care, who are not drunk on power or lining their own pockets. Wouldn’t the world be a lot saner and better for everyone?

No. It never is.

They believe themselves superior. They think we deserve to be where we are. They are privileged; we should be humble and know our place. They know better than us.

They think they can exploit and manipulate us. They can give us as little as possible while taking for themselves and their chums. They think they can tell us what to believe.

Their arrogance and entitlement is sickening.

Yet we elect them, support them and help inflate their egos.

That’s why the world’s a mess. That’s why there’s war.

Poetry – Nineteen Fourteen

Nineteen Fourteen

It is twenty twenty-two

                But in Ukraine

                                It is nineteen fourteen.

Russia has unleashed

                A reign of terror

                                Like we have rarely seen.

In Chechnya and Syria

                They practiced

                                Their Evil art.

Firing shells and missiles

                To blow

                                The cities apart.

They are digging trenches

                One again

In European cities civilisation

                Is down the drain.

Putin is gaily singing

                Death’s refrain.

It is twenty twenty-two

                But in Ukraine

                                It is nineteen fourteen.

Russia has unleashed

                A reign of terror

                                Like we have rarely seen.

Opher 22.4.2022

We like to think of ourselves as civilised – but we’re not.

We like to think we are intelligent – but we’re not.

We like to think that human civilisation has become advanced – but it hasn’t.

We like to think we have become wise and sophisticated – but we haven’t.

We’re still the same aggressive, violent, stupid, greedy, paranoid apes we’ve always been. We’re still the short-sighted idiots who fight.

Everything is a thin veneer.

Alright now! Right where we want to be!

Alright Now!

‘Wallop’ he chortled as he swaggered into the room, hair looking as if he’d just emerged from a wind tunnel, swinging an imaginary bat as if hitting a six. ‘I say, by Jove, did you jolly well see that?? Nailed it! I couldn’t have been more bally contrite if I err errr tried! Ha. I was bally trying!! Yaaah!’ He beamed around at them.

‘Bravura performance!’ Nadine was quick to say, flashing her lashes at him, her face glowing fit to swoon.

‘Yes, excellent,’ Raab agreed less enthusiastically. Everyone else nodded with feigned eagerness. It was proving hard to summon up the required enthusiasm. The smiles looked a trifle forced. The team had been gloomily studying the latest polling. It wasn’t looking good. Six points down with more bad news to come, as the fines and reports worked their way through the system. ‘But, er, I think we’d better discuss tactics. The polls are not looking good.’

Johnson gurned and shrugged. ‘Yaah, who cares about ruddy polls! We’ll, err hmmm, blast them to bally bits!’

‘It is the council elections. This couldn’t have come at a worse time.’

Johnson, seating himself, puffed his cheeks out and looked down at the table as if seeking inspiration. Finally raising his eyes and sighing with an anguished exhalation, ‘Look guys,’ he muttered more soberly, tilting his head on the side, ‘it’s mid-term blues, yeah, that’s all. We’ve got this dang-well nailed down.’

All eyes were fixed on him.

Johnson’s face broke into a big grin. ‘Face it guys, ya, we’re up against Starmer. He’s got as much charisma as a wet rag in a bucket of urine. Couldn’t think up a headline if, err, err, his soggy little brain was on fire! We’ve got two years yet,’ he reminded them. ‘It’s all err hmmmph, coming good.’ They did not look convinced. His eyes roved around the assembled crew. He sighed again.

‘OK, ya, dooh,’ he raised his eyes to the heavens, sighed, showed his palms and shrugged. He could see that the crew needed a boost.

The clownish persona evaporated, morphing into the shrewd, cynical tactician that lurked inside.

‘We’re two years out from an election. All this will pass. The heat has already gone out of it. We have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. The parties were trivial – the fines on a par with a parking ticket. All will be forgotten. It’s the goldfish syndrome. Let the snowflakes howl, who cares? We don’t need them. As long as our base comes on board – and they will.’

The clownish act had melted away. The delivery was forceful and exact, no hint of the stumbling fool.

Johnson nodded slowly, meeting eyes with them one after another, clasping his hands together, face set.

‘The mid-terms mean nothing. We have a year to make hay and a year to pull the plan together. Right now things are where they need to be. It’s alright now!’

‘But the redwall are jittery,’ Kwasi had the courage to point out; daring to say what the others were thinking.

Johnson leaned back, interlaced his fingers and fixed his piercing blue eyes on Kwarteng’s, like two electric epees. ‘Nobody expected to hang on to those seats,’ he intoned solemnly, finger-tips gently coming together. ‘That was Brexit. Brexit is over. We can afford to shed twenty or thirty seats as long as we hang on to a majority of ten to twenty we’ll be fine.’

‘Naddy,’ he said, turning his attention to Dorries. ‘How’s the plan going?’

Dorries, eager to please, was quick to summarise. ‘BBC board loaded. Already the trouble-makers are jumping ship – Maitlis and co. We’re still going for Channel 4. I’ve had meetings with Gary Jones, Lord Rothermere, Victoria Newton, the Barclay Brothers and John Witherow. We’ve got support from all sides.’ She looked up, wagging her tail like a little puppy dog.

‘He who controls the news controls the minds,’ Johnson stated, drumming his fingers on the table. ‘We’ve been oiling the right channels.’

The mood of the room was warming.

‘Now,’ Johnson said, his voice steely and face stern. ‘Rishi has been sorting out the treasure chest. We’ll have a year of agony and miraculously we will start zooming out of recession. Rishi will splash the cash, the energy crisis and the oil/petrol crisis will simply fade away. Prices will come tumbling down. The cost of living crisis will be a thing of the past. Moggy will highlight all the wonders of Brexit. Govey will at least have a pretence of levelling up. We’ll have made a fortune out of selling arms to Ukraine, long may that cash cow last, and Priti will have shut down the borders by putting the fear of the devil into all those who could end up in those concentration camps in Rwanda.’

He focussed his attention on Rishi who was trying his damnedest to look enthusiastic. Rishi knew that it had been Johnson who had stuck the knife in, using his contacts to reveal his Green Card and Akshata’s Non-Dom status. He’d been well and truly skewered but at least the Rwanda contract was a peace offering. He’d make a few million out of that and he was well-aware that his future depended on Johnson’s success. For now he’d keep his powder dry.

‘The Energy Companies and Oil Companies have never had it so good,’ Rishi grudgingly gushed, playing along with the game. His race was run and he knew it. Johnson was a formidable opponent. ‘They’ll put plenty cash and impetus into our campaign.’

Johnson smiled, re-laced his hands and looked pleased. ‘Add all that to the cash from the Ruskies.’ He sat back in his seat smug as a warlord on the battlefield, surveying the room. His eyes lingered on Javid who looked uncomfortable. He too had that past Green Card hanging over him. ‘Make sure we make inroads into that backlog,’ he said, but the underlying subliminal message was transparent in the expression on his face. Johnson needed him to know.

The secret to an efficient, smooth-running cabinet was to know whose buttons to press and where all the skeletons were.

‘In a year’s time we’ll be riding a wave, see if we won’t. I’ll be the one who got Brexit done, beat covid, mastered the cost of living and helped put Russia back in its box. They’ve got the intelligence of gnats. We’ll have another four years to stuff our faces. I tell you – it’s alright now! We’re exactly where we need to be!’

Fascism – How far are we down the road towards a fascist state?

We are seeing the rise of fascism all over the world. What is it? What is its appeal to ordinary people?

Are they just duped by the propaganda?

Do they like the simple black and white principles?

Do they see it as strong decisive leadership?

Do they want to be part of something they see as powerful?

Do they support it out of fear?

I was watching Mike Malloys 14 characteristics of Fascism. That was scary.

One can clearly see the way that Putin and Xi clearly operate fascist states. What is more worrying is the way that countries like the USA, UK and France are heading down the same road. Democracy is clearly being manipulated and usurped.

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

  1. Nationalism – nationalistic slogans, flags, symbols and emblems are splattered everywhere.
  2. Human Rights – human rights are ignored. Fear is ratcheted up and enemies are identified and dehumanised so that it is OK to deploy incarceration, violence and even torture.
  3. Identification of Enemies – these scapegoats may be immigrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, racial groups, liberals, communists or cultural minorities. They are portrayed as a threat and built up to induce fear and hate. They are portrayed as terrorists, rapists, criminals, morally corrupt drug dealers or simply people, who breed like rabbits, and are intent on usurping the national culture.
  4. Supremacy of the Military – the army, secret police and goons are deployed to suppress opposition and control all expressions of dissent. The goons are funded even when domestic needs are neglected.
  5. Sexism – the rights of women and minority sexual groups are severely repressed. Abortion is banned. There is suppression of gay and trans rights.
  6. Control Of The Mass Media – either directly or indirectly. The bringing in of censorship and pumping out of propaganda.
  7. National Security Obsession – The state is under threat from spurious political/social/religious/cultural groups. Fear is ramped up. Hate is ramped up. These groups must be opposed and eradicated. They are the enemy within.
  8. Crime and Punishment Obsession – the police need added powers in order to control the threats from within and establish law and order.
  9. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – state funds are appropriated and misused. They are dolled out to friends and supporters. Supporters are rewarded royally. Stolen money is used to support actions that bolster the state (media, business etc.).
  10. Fraudulent Elections – elections are rigged with voter suppression in opposition areas, smear campaigns, false claims, control of actual voting, making it extremely difficult for the opposition to vote and easy for supporters, alterations in regional boundaries and manipulation of the media. Votes cast can be ignored or manipulated.
  11. Religion is Deployed – even when the tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the violence, abuse, suppression, inequality and moral corruption of the regime. Religion is used as a basis to motivate and becomes intertwined with government.
  12. Corporate Power – corporations are protected and rewarded for the mutual benefit of the elite. The power and wealth are streamed to this elite.
  13. Labour Power is Suppressed – the people are the only force that can effectively undermine the regime hence their power is reduced. Corporations deunionise, laws are passed to make unions ineffective, propaganda is deployed to manipulate workers and make them docile.
  14. Disdain for Intellectuals, Music and Art – intellectuals and artists can be a focus for opposition and arouse the people to oppose the regime. There is open hostility and undermining of all experts, encouragement of conspiracy and superstition, attack on freedom of expression and defunding of art and academia. All rebellion is sidelined.

I would add this fifteenth and sixteenth to Mike Malloy’s list:

15. Dumbing Down and Distraction – There is a distinct dumbing down in literature, art, TV and education. Trivial distraction is used to prevent people from engaging with what is really going down. Alcohol and drugs are encouraged. Programmes that expose or investigate in any depth are discouraged, banned, defunded, sidelined or debunked.

16. Education – The history books are rewritten, the curriculum reduced, the syllabi restricted and education turned into career fodder. Creativity and thinking are discouraged. Propaganda is deployed. Students are brainwashed.

We see this with Xi and Putin, Le Pen, Bolsonaro, Johnson, Trump, Erdogan, Modi, Oban and numerous others.

We fought a world war against the fascism of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. Now it is coming in through the backdoor.

How far down this road are we in the UK and USA?? If Trump had been elected again would we have said goodbye to democracy in the USA? I think so. With Johnson spouting nationalistic nonsense of global Britain and Brexit, taking over the media, loading the BBC, taking over Channel 4, controlling the newspapers (Daily Mail, Express, Sun, Times, Telegraph), suppressing protest, pumping out propaganda, using corruption and sleaze to reward supporters, creating a new elite, scapegoating refugees, Muslims and ‘woke’, and vilifying the opposition – are we heading for a one-party fascist state? I think so.

Looking at the world – these are worrying times!!

Conexion – A Sci-fi novel – a drug that enables you to journey through your DNA back into the distant past – strange discoveries.



In the future it is still all about power.

General Secretary Rheen holds the reins but does he hold the power?

What about the members of the shadowy Consortium who supply the money to get him elected? …

The separatists who are prepared to use violence?

The Unification Movement who would bring the opposition together?

Or the people who democratically vote?

What of the stranded Starship?

And what of the new drug Conexion that opens genetic memories to unlock an unexpected past?

The new Gaia religion?

Or the three massive spherical objects heading for earth?

How will it all come to a conclusion?


Chapter 1 – As it was

James Hendrix, better known as Jimi to everyone who knew him, noted the first indication at precisely 2.37 and 37 seconds on May 30th 2249.

It was a date that was to go down in history as one of the most auspicious events ever recorded, even though at the time Jimi thought little of it and paid it scant attention.

That was not surprising. Warnings went off routinely as every lump of rock or piece of space junk that was heading anywhere near an inhabited planet was flagged up. Most were of little consequence and would simply burn up in the atmosphere but a few were big enough to cause concern and had to be dealt with. That’s why the agency had been set up.

Jimi assigned the latest intruder a signature code – JHUMA91074 – then he left it to its automatic tracking system and went back to playing Solum with the station’s computer.

JH were his initials, UMA stood for Ursa Major, the segment of space from which the object was first recorded coming in. It was quite an unusual one as could be seen from the low number of recorded warnings, 91074 indicated the number of objects that had originated from that sector.

Once assigned, the computer continued to plot the trajectory and that was normally where the whole matter ended. Most of the debris was considered of no risk and was merely monitored, never to be heard of again. People like Jimi performed the mundane task of acknowledging the warning just as a fail-safe. The Public did not like the idea of there not being a human touch somewhere along the line. They felt that humans should make the decisions even though it had been well proven that computers were far better at it.

There wasn’t a great deal of excitement to be had in Jimi’s work. Being an astrophysicist had sounded great when he’d opted for the training but wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Jimi worked for the AEWC – the Asteroid Early Warning Centre – in its favour, it paid well and at least got one up into vacuum even if that’s as far as it went. For the most part his work consisted of spending long tedious hours on his own every night, pointlessly acknowledging things of no significance that the computer had already done, and vainly hoping for an event of significance to finally take place so that there was at least something to get excited over. The sad fact was that even if a major event did occur then all Jimi had to do was ensure that the computer had passed the information on to his superiors, which it routinely did anyway – so even that wasn’t exactly thrilling.

It was not a pleasant thing to realise that one was in effect redundant and surplus to requirements, so Jimi tried not to think about it too much, which was why he spent most of his time playing games with the computer. Even that enterprise was futile – about as pointless as checking space junk. He knew the computer could beat him hands down every time if it had not been programmed to limit its capabilities in order to give him a fighting chance. Still, it whiled the hours away.

Jimi had not paid too much attention to this particular intrusion other than to note that the object was far too far away at this point in time to be of any importance, so he did not have to register it into his consciousness or grant it a moment’s speculation as to what it might be. A minor niggle did reach the surface of his thoughts; if it was far away and yet had registered it had to be big. But hey, space was full of lumps of rock and the majority of them were of absolutely no significance. Space was big. As long as they did not cross routes or threaten planets they could be disregarded.

It goes to show, doesn’t it? There’s no limit to how wrong a person might be!

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Waiting for Sue Gray is like waiting for Godot!!

When the government believes it is above the rule of law we are in trouble.

When they control the media we are in trouble.

When they suppress protest we are in trouble.

We are heading towards Putin – oppression and suppression – and a one-party state.

Is Sue Gray tied up and gagged in a basement in Downing Street?

Poetry – The Polling Booth

The Polling Booth

Teargas, snatch squads and goons

From Portland to Belarus.

Tyrants, dirty tricks and lies

Oppose and they’ll cook your goose.

Campaigns, elections, rigged results

People take to the streets

Arrogant strutting fascists

Now peaceful protests ain’t so sweet.

Provocateurs, infiltrators, extremists,

Disrupt and undermine

Inflaming, orchestrating and blaming

Opening up the fault line.

Dividing, confusing, reinforcing

Until nobody knows the truth

All sides believing what they’re told

To sanctify the polling booth.

Opher – 31.8.2020

What starts as peaceful protest is soon taken over by extremists with agendas or those filled with hate and a lust for revenge.

The politicians deploy their goons to use force to clear the streets.

Violence, looting and aggression just play into the hands of those in charge that use it as an excuse, as justification for force.

The underhand tactics used by extremists to stir up trouble. Agents are deployed to incite, to cause damage, to undermine.

Peaceful demonstration turns into rioting.

People and events are manipulated, orchestrated, for political gain by cynical politicians.

It’s all about the polling booth.