I’m always spouting about equality. I believe in it. But is it really clear what equality really means? No it isn’t.
I certainly do not want everybody being the same or having the same.
I certainly understand that people are not all equal. People have greatly different talents, skills, abilities, intelligence, physical attributes etc. They cannot all be the same.
So what do I mean when I talk about equality? I’ve had to think quite hard about how to explain my thoughts.
I want people to have the same opportunities regardless of their gender, race, age, religion, geographical position, disability, wealth, class or anything else.
I want the world to be fairer with rewards for efforts, abilities, risks and responsibilities being proportionate.I do not think it is fair for someone like Rees-Mogg or Johnson to make millions out of a few speeches or a Brexit vote, while others work all their lives in hard circumstances and never earn a million. I see this as part of equality. I do think that exceptional sportsmen and women, risk-takers, business people and managers deserve to be paid well for what they do. I think that needs to be in proportion to those at the bottom. I want a more equal world where those at the top cannot earn say – more than twenty times those at the bottom.
I want a level playing field for education, health, courts and job prospects where the rich cannot buy privilege, where there is a meritocracy, not one based on nepotism, advantage, cronyism and privilege (like this Tory government handing out huge contracts to donors and Johnson putting his father forward for a knighthood). You should earn your position and reward through effort and ability – not patronage.
So when I talk about equality I do not want everyone the same. I merely want everyone to be equally important and have the means to prosper through their own efforts and abilities. I want to put an end to the situation where some are fast-tracked to wealth and power through privilege and not ability.
I Am Woke to the knowledge that my ancestors got lots of things horribly wrong.
I am woke to their mistakes and cultural attitudes.
I am woke to a better world.
I Am Woke!
I live in a culture that once felt so superior to other cultures that they condoned racism and slavery.
I live in a culture that used to think wild animals could be abused without remorse, that condoned bear-baiting, bull-fighting, dog and cock fighting and believed that watching animals tearing each other apart was entertainment.
I belong to a culture that thought war was glorious and that to die in battle was noble.
I belong to a culture that believes some people deserve much more than others because they, by birth, are inherently superior.
I belong to a culture where ordinary people had to fight, protest and die for the right to vote, for a fair day’s pay for a fair days work and for safe conditions in the workplace.
I am woke to all this and lots more.
What are the evils that existed in your culture? Misogyny? Persecution? Cruelty? Violence?
What aspects still need addressing?
I am woke to the need for equality, freedom, fairness and a world that lives in harmony with nature.
My patriotism is so big in encompasses the whole world and every living thing.
You can only have real democracy when you have transparency, fair representation and a vote for every man and woman. That was far from the case two hundred years ago. Women were denied the vote. Only landowners could vote. Some towns with only a handful of voters were electing two MPs. Two towns electing two MPs each had only 1 eligible voter. Half of the MPs in the House were elected by a mere 154 votes. Cities with hundreds of thousands were grossly underrepresented. The economic and employment situation in the North was dire and people felt they had no recourse to justice. They had no vote and no representation. At St. Peter’s field near Manchester between 60,000 and 80,000 gathered to hold a peaceful public meeting and protest. The establishment was rattled. They thought it might develop into a riot, ferment general unrest and lead to a revolution. They banned it. But the protesters still met. The cavalry were called to charge. People were trampled and slashed with sabres. The crowd was eventually dispersed. They left 11 to 15 dead and over 600 to 700 badly injured – 168 of which were women. The first to be killed was a baby knocked out of his mother’s arms by a charging cavalryman. Witnesses claimed the cavalrymen slashed out indiscriminately at anyone they could. The area was sodden with blood. It became known as the Peterloo massacre in ironic contrast to the recent battle of Waterloo.
It led to renewed impetus for justice and the Chartist Movement who fought for the right to vote.
Freedoms and rights are not freely given. They are paid for with lives and blood and can so easily be stripped away again.
The courts do not dispense justice. They undergo procedure according to the law. It very much depends on how good a barrister you can afford. The courts protect the state. They require scapegoats as deterrents.
Violence in war, by tyrants, by gangs, by the authorities, overrides all justice.
We live in a world of our own design. We have created massive inequality, exploitation and poverty.
These things have not come about by chance. They were designed.
The powerful choose injustice, unfairness and selfishness. They think they deserve it.
It is quite incredible the way that we have been brainwashed to think that some people deserve to earn billions from doing nothing (and pay no taxes on their ill-gotten gains) while others work really hard and live at a poverty level.
The deserving and the parasites.
Seemingly all public services are a drain on the economy while evading taxes and stuffing billions in the Cayman Islands is not.
That education and health care are not important and should be poorly funded. The only ones who deserve good care are those who can afford to go private.
Poetry – My Culture – a poem about the struggle for freedom and equality.
The society we live in did not come about by chance; it was fought for every inch of the way by people with vision and aspiration. The peasants and serfs were kept in poverty but they were not stupid. The robber barons stole the land from under their feet and they were powerless. The wealthy businessmen stole their products through guile. The State enacted laws to protect the establishment and keep the poor in their place.
With the coming of the industrial revolution ordinary people were kept down. They were paid a pittance in order to keep the profits high. The bosses creamed off huge wealth while the workers slaved. The owners and aristocrats lived in mansions and palaces with servants while the producers of the wealth lived in poverty and working conditions that were scandalous.
Gradually the ordinary people fought for representation, fair reward for labour given and justice. Ever so gradually the work conditions improved and the wages rose. Each step on the way was met with bleating and violence. The establishment was loath to give up its luxury; they feared the result of suffrage for ordinary people. They believed we might change the laws to create fairness.
They give us as little as they think they can buy us off with. Only through the unions was a living wage grudgingly conceded. Their fear is revolution.
This society we live in is the result of struggle. The freedoms we have are tenuous. The establishment claw back all they can. The wealth still sticks with the elite. The trickle down is as meagre as required to keep us docile. Zero hours contracts, austerity, unemployment and pay freezes are deployed while the rich get richer. We are all in it together is a lie. Information is biased and distorted – the Daily Mail and the rest of the press, even the BBC are all part of an establishment. He who tells the story controls the minds. The media moguls have a vested interest.
Democracy is a fragile thing and bought with blood – lots of blood.
This is my culture – the wisdom of my ways.
Suppression and oppression – the order of past days.
Freed into the sunlight – on a democratic wave.
Released from penury – and the status of a slave.
The blood of my forebears sinks heavy in this soil
They paid dear for a share of the profits from their toil.
They fought for their rights and freedoms against a selfish few
Who garnered all the wealth away and propped up many a pew.
This is my culture – the result of battles fought.
Standing up for rights – against a great onslaught.
Liberty and equality – to stand tall and not in fear.
Freedom from King and God – is a right that we hold dear.
From the wealthy, the bishops and the kings
We wrested back our freedoms, among a host of things.
They grudgingly relented to give the very least
And we seized the goods on offer from the Baron and the Priest.
This is now my culture – value it we must!
If once our eyes do stray away – they’ll fling it in the dust.
Rights and freedoms – are febrile in the light.
They’ll rip them away – they have the power and the might.
I give thanks to the Levellers, the Chartists and rebels all,
Without all their struggles we would not have a life at all.
The suffragettes and Wilberforce struck blows for equality.
They chipped away at oppression and left us democracy.
This is that culture – worthy of a fight!
Free of church and monarchy – valiant and bright!
A culture to be proud of in which I take delight.
Proud to be an Englishman and put the world to right!
Not as an exploiter, a victor or an owner with his fee
But as a friend, a fellow traveller, a champion of the free.
Together we could stand to create justice without tyranny
Take the best from all our cultures and live in harmony.
Perhaps now the deniers who are witnessing the drying up of the Victoria Falls, the shrinking of ice-caps, heatwaves, floods and hurricanes, will start to wake up – no longer in thrall to the greed of Trump – for whom nothing matters except money.
The world is pivoting. It totters.
We should use our intelligence.
The wealthy will sell the planet for profit. They peddle fake news. Their greed and selfishness is endangering species after species and putting us in the firing line.
There is a war. It is a war fought with words and votes. It is a war we need to win.