Are the Tory Walls About to Come Tumbling Down? By Sarinder Joshua Duroch

What’s really changed since 1985?

It’s April 1985, the privatisation ethos is in full swing. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are facing the full wrath of Tory policies, individualism and the tyranny of the ‘I’m alright Jack attitude’ sent from the Tory south east of England has increased the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’…

I am now 44 years of age and it is fair to say I’ve seen the impact of Tory policies and unfairness, the memory of the violence that was displayed by the Police on behalf of the Tories to the miners and their families was totally abhorrent.

In fact, the news I was watching should have had a British Board of Film Classification certificate.

I will never forget the Police waving £20 notes at striking miners showing off their overtime pay, and shouting “thank you Arthur Scargill”.

Many were sent from the south east of England to the northern counties, Orwell was right when he said, ‘If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’ That boot certainly was faced by anyone who had a socialist bone in their body. As for the cities, the skinheads were booting people around with limited intervention from the Police.

The teachers strike was in full swing at the time. How could I forget, I would turn up to classes and got sent away, we would wander around the streets of Glasgow and be fearful if the then Strathclyde Police would give us a hiding for being truant from school.

Don’t forget for a moment I was subjected to a fear of the police and them using force due to what happened to the miners.

Even at that age we were told that the Police are pro Queen, pro Protestant and certainly pro Tory; what chance did a young Celtic supporter have if he was stopped and questioned?

Well, we move on to 2017, what chance has any youngster got when this generation is still being used as free labour? Back then it was the slave labour of the YTS (Youth Training Scheme) and today we have people being sent on work trials by the job centre and they work for nothing or their benefits are stopped.

Has much changed under Tory rule?

NO!

Not much has changed at all, we lived in the fear of the far right then and had to be subjected to hate crimes that were laughed at by the authorities and the Police, in comparison today it is not an exaggeration to say that it was a totally different world.

Hate crimes have increased but they are treated with urgency now not like in the past where if you took a hiding for being who you are then it was your fault according to the authorities.

One movement did make a difference to the socialist mindset and strengthened the will of many young people, it was the famous school children’s strike of April 1985.

10,000 school children took part in a strike against the Tory’s YTS scheme. Rightfully so given that they were expected to complete their schooling and be oppressed by the employer; who was probably enjoying the delights of the Chamber of Commerce meetings in smoke and alcohol filled rooms down in the golf club or some country club whilst the working classes could hardly afford a pint down in the Working Men’s Clubs of Liverpool.

The whole thing was designed to ensure that the children of those union members would become reliant on the wages of torture whilst business leaders profited from their misfortune of being working class children.

Well, the Tories had something else coming and that was the will of these young heroes who refused to be broken by the state and its attempt to supress the youth into submission, and make them subservient just like those in the colonies who joined the police and carried out the agenda of the masters.

Do not be disillusioned by the exploitation of cheap labour abroad by these corporations where there are little or no employment laws.

India is a prime example with the violations of child labour and the call centres that are in place to serve these corporations based over here. So, it is the same ethos of brutal corporate colonialism and appeased to by the subservient servants who are serving the cause and continuing the suffering of their own people.

Those kids in the city of Liverpool were striking for their future and without any arms apart from their school bags and uniforms off they went to the banks of the Mersey to show the government that their will cannot be broken.

In a time when there was no social media all they relied on was leaflets and word of mouth. They still managed to generate 10,000 kids, all achieved in a city where poverty was rampant because of the unfair policies aimed at the working classes.

The south east overall was relishing in the waves of new cash that was being made available by the sell off from public owned industries and the cash being generated from the boom that was created for the Tory voters in the south east.

As for the northern cities, their kids were taking up the cause of fighting for their justice and future opportunities there were no wages for their efforts only the hope of a better future.

When was the last time holding your ground for principle and morals paid you? The wages of sin only go to the sinful.

The odious Norman Tebbit who was the Education Secretary at the time made it clear that all benefits for 16 & 17 years olds will be stopped if they do not go into further education or if they fail to find work; they were forced to engage with the infamous YTS scheme.

Has much changed in 2017?

Today we have the increase in the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, corporations are booming from tax incentives and loop holes in the system where taxation can be avoided legally.

Yet we have people being sent to work on work trials for free and then sent back to the job centre to be humiliated for not securing employment!

We need the spirit of the school children who went on strike in 1985.

The will has not been totally broken to stand up for the change in government. I do believe we need to take on Orwell’s words and stand by them by not being afraid of political correctness that in result creates appeasement that silences our principles.

George Orwell ~

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, impostersthieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices”

Do we want to become the accomplices, or do we want to be like the kids of 1985 who were petrified of being suspended, or even arrested by the Police on some breach of the peace act or public disorder act being in place.

Don’t forget, now you can simply Google everything, back in 1985 you needed to learn your rights and know them well because it was deemed that you had no rights if you were northern, working class and the son or daughter of a socialist.

To remind the youth of today, I must express this example of what the Tories and their antics are really like.

We must agree that we are a charitable nation, are we not?

Yes of course we are.

I grew up at a time when the famine in Ethiopia was killing the whole nation, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure started the Live Aid campaign and it certainly showed the world that we are a charitable nation of substance.

Our working classes did what they could to raise money for the Live Aid cause and showed their charitable nature.

There is no doubt those who watched the scenes on the news were moved to the point where it left a psychological scar on the mind.

Watching children die in their parents’ arms and be subject to the torment of starvation really moved this nation.

It didn’t move the Tories or Thatcher though did it!

I will never forget her being collared by Bob Geldof because she refused to exempt the Band Aid record, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ from 15% VAT.

So here we have the working classes raising money for the cause to save the lives of starving children and doing something for humanity, whilst they themselves were still nursing the wounds of police batons from the miners’ strike.

Thatcher with a deluge of support from the Tories would refuse to exempt the record of VAT and return any tax made from the record to the starving children of Ethiopia.

A Labour MP at the time held Thatcher to account and asked her to refund the 15% tax. MP Al Morris of Manchester, Wythenshawe said:

“Every penny of this money was intended for starving children in Africa, and not for the Billy Bunters of the Treasury. You cannot praise the Good Samaritan and then mug him to the tune of 15% of his aid.”

“I want Mrs Thatcher to instruct the Treasury to find a way to refund their pickings from this wonderful event -which may run into many thousands of pounds.”

MP Morris became the first Minister for the Disabled in 1974 and his work played a huge role in passing legislation in 1970 for disabilities and chronic illnesses.

I wonder what he would have to say about the Tories and their antics with PIP and the indignation that disabled people must go through today.

So, what has changed since 1985?

Years later, in November 2014, George Osborne eventually surrendered to the idea of VAT exemption and informed Geldof he can keep the money for the Ebola cause.

Did he want to appease the working classes by making this decision or was he just as moved as his loyal tears for Margaret Thatcher at her funeral?

They say in politics that one must vote and speak with their conscience, so didn’t one Tory MP have the courage to stand up and hold the hierarchy of the Tory party to account?

At least in the Labour party Blair felt the wrath from Robin Cook over the Gulf war and had his own MPs holding their ground.

The Tories were and still are petrified of their leadership, any sign of change will be for their own financial gain or a power grab; not for the principles of humanity, that you can forget right this very instant.

So, what has really changed?

We still have massive profits being made by companies that bought our industries!

We still have cheap or total free labour.

The human trafficking situation is way out of control because profits before people is still the main concern of the Tory government.

People cannot make it to the end of the month financially, food and fuel poverty is a massive problem and zero hours contracts have been allowed to flourish without much opposition or questioning from the Tories.

We have had a recent increase in rail fares and buses are no longer the cheaper option for the working classes.

The 1985 deregulation act of our buses was implemented in October 1986, Labour Lords managed to create an amendment that prevented PM May from prohibiting local authorities from running a bus service back in 2016.

Labour made it clear that municipalisation must remain an open option to local authorities, thus allowing the opportunity of public ownership returning to the people who were victims of corporate theft by the Tory government.

Bus fares have risen faster than inflation and bus usage has fallen by more than a third causing more congestion on our roads.

So again what has changed since 1985?

It’s the same corporate tyranny supported by the Tory government, someone is certainly getting richer from all of this and it isn’t the people who are paying for all, that is a certainty.

Consumers must accept it or just simply must walk to their destination; the market is like a hostile takeover where three bus companies hold the monopoly they are Arriva, Stagecoach and First Bus.

The Tories have totally ensured that the working class pay for this proper, since 1995 to 2016 bus fares outside of London rose by 156% whilst the Retail Price Index rose by 77%.

What has changed since then?

This month saw another rail fare increase for the same quality service where delays, cancellations and not getting a seat is a daily occurrence.

As for the Tory faithful; the membership I am referring to, that is falling according to media sources and activists the figure could be under 100,000 members.

Is it the case that the autocratic ethos of the Tories has finally broken the will and participation enthusiasm when only 28% of them have a say on policy formation?

Could it be that many Conservative members have been mislead and when they visit their doctor’s surgery or local hospital the reality hits them straight in the face?

Maybe the reality of life hits them when they need to access the NHS or face unemployment.

Whatever the reason, brick by brick, this wall is tumbling down.

The next repetition we will be seeing is more seats like Canterbury becoming Labour; Canterbury was a massive victory and with Jeremy’s leadership more towns and cities will become Labour.

Whatever he is doing it is working and working exceedingly well the membership reflects that at over 500,000.

I will leave you with the lyrics of the 1985 song Walls Come Tumbling Down by the Style Council, it may just rekindle your desire for change of government and not stand for this social oppression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5HfOipwvts

You don’t have to take this crap

You don’t have to sit back and relax

I know we’ve always been taught to rely

Upon those in authority

But you never know until you try

How things just might be

Are you gonna try to make this work

Or spend your days down in the dirt

You see things can change

Yes, and walls can come tumblin’ down

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Yes, they do

Yes, they do

The competition is a colour TV

We’re on still pause with the video machine

Until the unity is threatened by

Those who have and who have not

Those who are with

And those who are without

And dangle jobs

Like a donkey’s carrot

Are you gonna

Get to realise

The class war’s real

And not mythologised

And like Jericho

Yes, and walls can

Come tumblin’ down

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’

They’ll be too weak

To fight it

Oh, the world’s united

Oh, we’ll unite it

Are you gonna

Be threatened by

The public enemy

Number 10

Those who play

The power game

They take the profits

You take the blame

Are you gonna try

To make this work

Or spend your days

Down in the dirt

You see things can change

Walls can come

Tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Yes, they do

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Source BBC Politics, Daniel Zeichner Labour MP for Cambridge.

Why It Took Me So Long To Realise The Importance Of Education By Eddie Luigi

Let me make this clear from the start. I failed my 11+, and was thereby consigned to the ever growing ‘scrap heap’ of the under educated.

This never occurred to me to be a problem. I could read, I could write and I could accomplish basic arithmetic. You can not miss something that you never had.

I joined the Royal Navy, and learnt how to read electrical engineering manuals, in order to carry out the tasks assigned to me. My leisure reading was, purposely, limited to pulp fiction western and detective novels.

The news held no interest for me and I was quite happy blindly obeying orders. In an armed forces environment there is no place for a square peg in a round hole. Life was cosy in an environment where you were cocooned from the cares and worries of the civilian population.

Now that I have retired, and broken three television sets getting angry at day time programs, I decided to do something positive with my free time and enrolled at my local college for an access course with a view to attending university.

Now I understand why the Tories don’t want to invest in education and why the media write articles that you only need a rudimentary education to read, but not necessarily understand.

Primary and Secondary education is adequate for what used to be termed ‘factory fodder’. You are taught that this is a word and it must be true because there it is. You are taught to read the words but not taught to question the words, and as long as there is a roof over your head and food on your table you don’t particularly care. You assume an ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude.

However, what about your children, or your children’s children.

Once you get beyond rudimentary education you start to question the written words and ask

Who wrote this?

Why did they write it?

What are they trying to achieve?

This is just the thing that the Tories want to avoid. They do not want an educated population that will question any of their policies, they require an obedient population that are happy to live off the few crumbs that might fall from the master’s banquet.

If you want a quiet life for yourself vote Tory, do not become educated, accept that ‘this is the way things are’ and ignore your children’s plaintiff cries of inequality.

“There is no more far-seeing investment for a nation than to put milk, food and education into young children” Winston Churchill 1939

My Letter To The PM About My Child’s Mental Health Got An Unexpected Response 

By Lisa Mulholland

I am an autism mum and I get ‘political’ sometimes. 

It is difficult not to be when current waiting times for an autism assessment in North West Kent is between 2 and 3 years due to NHS cuts and over the years has varied between 1-2 years.

This is frustrating and can really affect an autistic child’s life as diagnosis means children get support they desperately need in school. Well for now anyway as schools all over the country are having their budgets slashed, meaning many Teaching Assistants will no longer have jobs.

Terrible for the teachers but a disaster for the children who so heavily rely on support staff.

The school budget for my child’s school alone is also set to be slashed by £72,000 by the year 2019. And I dread to think about how many children will feel the fallout of this.

For me once I finally got a diagnosis for my eldest I was unaware that the battle had only just begun and it took 4 years from seeking an autism diagnosis to finding the right primary school setting. 
Anxiety, school refusal and mental health issues became a barrier to my son’s education and eventually his overall quality of life.

It started aged 6 with self- harm and progressed into suicidal tendencies by the time he reached the age of 10.

Although shocking, my son is not a one-off case. While autism itself IS NOT a mental health condition, 71% of children who have autism develop mental health conditions, according to the NAS. * 

Compare this to non-autistic children where the figure for developing a mental health condition is around 10% and you have a staggering 61% difference that cannot be ignored. ** 

When I had reached the end of my tether with new battles arising after two failed secondary school placements in the space of 3 months, due to my son’s panic attacks, self- harm and absolute emotional breakdown I put pen to paper. 

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) had rejected us from their service a total of 6 times, so we had an escalating mental health issue that no one would treat. 

I literally had nowhere to turn so when I was given a glimmer of hope of prospective specialist school that could cater to my son’s high academic ability, I was overjoyed.

There are not many schools like it and he was deemed too ‘bright’ for other specialist schools.

But he was initially rejected by the school, so another simultaneous battle ensued. Eventually they agreed to let me son have a trial day.

The night before the trial he burst into tears and said, ” Why do I have to be autistic, I just want a normal life, I just want to go to school and hang out with my mates” before having a panic attack and physically harming himself many times throughout the night.

That night I wanted to complain to someone. But I didn’t know where to start. So, I started with David Cameron who was the Prime Minister at the time. 


I was desperate, heartbroken and angry all at once but when I finished writing, I felt a sense of relief that I had got it off my chest.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it, but a friend of mine read it and was moved by it. She had a political group on Facebook and we decided to share it.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. 

My letter kept being shared and people started commenting about how they could relate to it and I was being spurred on to continue my battle by people I had never met.

Then I was contacted by a BBC journalist who was interested in my story. 

I was apprehensive at first, but after much deliberation and assurance from The BBC we agreed to do it. We felt we had nothing to lose and wanted to speak out about mental health and felt that is we could help just one other family then it was worth it.

The BBC staff came to our home so that we were comfortable and were very sensitive and respectful.

My son really opened up and the staff were so moved by our story that they offered him a treat to visit the studios and watch the editing process. The staff spoke to him about anxiety in the workplace and gave us some hope when we felt there was none.

We appeared on BBC Inside Out and the Health Correspondent took my letter straight to the Director of CAMHS Kent and Sussex Partnership.

To see my letter being addressed by the Director of CAMHS on the BBC was surreal but it encouraged other friends’ children in similar situations to speak out about their mental health issues too.

Just that alone for me feel like I had made a positive difference.

Just when I was about to lose all hope, a letter and a political group help
ed to give me a second wind to fight some more. It helped us push the services some more, fight for mental health treatment and fight for a school placement. 

We were then invited onto radio and Victoria Derbyshire to speak about our issues and 18 months later and talked to people who had influence over mental health services.

We are still in contact with the staff at BBC South East. They were personally touched by our plight and are now delighted to hear of the progress my son has made. They often drop us a line to ask how is he getting on.


He is no longer plagued by his anxiety (albeit still present) he now has a quality of life that everyone is entitled to.

The school listened to my case and gave him a chance. He is now the happiest he has ever been in his life because he is in a school setting that caters to his academic and social and emotional needs and finally got the CAMHS treatment he desperately needed.

He is excelling in subjects that I never thought he would attempt and he no longer has panic attacks and we are able to manage his anxiety and mental health issues.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been so compelled to ‘get political’.

I want to continue to make other parents in similar situations aware that the difficulties and frustrations many parents feel with a lack of services to support their children whether it be NHS waiting lists, CAMHS waiting lists or lack of school support is a political issue.  People need to be held to account and we should never feel silenced.

The buck stops with the government and sometimes direct action needs to be taken to let the voices of our children be heard. And above all we should never take no for an answer. 

Sources:

National Autistic Society “You Need to Know Campaign”

Mental Health Foundation

To read the actual Letter that was sent to the PM please click here: 

https://theavengeruk.com/2017/09/18/my-open-letter-to-the-pm-about-how-austerity-affected-my-childs-mental-health/

Family Life: The Biggest Casualty of Modern UK Culture By Kelly Grehan

By Kelly Grehan

 

Barely a day goes by without me hearing some mention of Britishness and British values. There seems to be an acceptance by some that Britain is the envy of the world. I have never been sure what this is based on.

What sums up modern British life? What are the central focuses of our culture? I’d argue money, work and the pursuit of status are what our daily lives and almost all of our time are filled with.  

I visited Holland this summer and could not help but notice how much more relaxed the Dutch way of life seems to be as oppposed to here, where many of us feel our days are about trying to cram in as much as possible. The expectation is to be a conscientious employee, always on time, never be unreliable, strive to climb the career ladder at the same time as being an involved parent, never missing a school play or sports match. keep a perfect house and helping with homework and all manner of other things. But although we might not like to admit it, our value base in this country is about putting money ahead of family life and happiness. 

We are preached to that our status is based upon our (material) assets, people seem to long to tell you how much their car/holiday/phone/home cost, and expect you to be impressed.  

There often appears to be a badge of honour in how many hours you work over what you are contracted; almost as if the company might collapse without us and many of us are forced to waste hours every week sitting in traffic jams or awaiting delayed trains as we commute to jobs far from our homes. Rising costs of living and stagnant wages leave many of us feeling stressed about making ends meet.     

But does it have to be like this? I’d argue not and that the way of life we have here can be changed. Denmark and Norway won the first and second places in this year’s World Happiness Report.  

What’s different about them? Well, both Denmark and Norways’ cultures prioritise experiences over material goods and strive for equality. They have relatively small wealth gaps and friendships are seen as a value. Both nations cherish sharing activities with friends and family.

In the Norwegian language there is even a word for helping each other without being paid;  ‘dugnad’. 

Occasions where everyone contributes their time and skills for the good of the neighbourhood is seen as vital for the good of all. Similarly, Danes might pay extortionate amounts in tax, but this has given them a sense of cohesion; everyone having a stake and everyone getting something back. Unlike here where post compulsory education without being linked to career aspirations is regarded as an extravagance, most Danes take weekly evening classes, all free at the point of receiving them. How many of our lives would be enriched if that were the case here?

One reason people in Denmark have time for enrichment is that they simply do not work the hours we do. The average working week in the UK is now 43.6 hours compared with a European average of 40.3 hours. Danish workers work an average of 26 hours and Norwegians 33.  

One of the sad things about our culture, in my view, is the failure of us as a society to put family life first and the impact it has our children.  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last year conducted a study of children across 44 countries. The results made for grim reading, It found Britain’s 15-year-olds are suffering due to ‘pressure at school, feeling fat and drinking too much.’ They were less likely to report ‘good life satisfaction’ than their foreign counterparts.  

73% of girls and 52% of boys in England felt pressured by school work, significantly higher than the average of 51% of girls and 39% of boys across all countries. 

While 50% of girls and 25% of boys in England think they are too fat, higher than the average 43% for girls and 22% for boys across all countries.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers have consistently argued that the mental health of children as young as six is being blighted by exam stress. We have increasing numbers of young people self harming and suffering from anxiety and stress. Although there are many reasons for this, I would argue the culture in this country which judges everyone, regardless of age on their possessions and status is at least partly to blame. Children are judged on their test scores, their school’s place in the league tables, their clothes, their family status, where they live and all manner of other things that should not be important. So, it is no wonder, like British adults, so many children cannot escape the feeling they are not good enough.

What about if Britain had a culture where employers encouraged and helped promote family life and other activities? What about if when meeting people for the first time we asked people about their hobbies and interests instead of where they live and what we do for a living? 


What about if spending time doing community based activities was the norm? What about if we judged each other by our actions and nothing else – not appearance or status or possessions?

I think we would all be much happier. Isn’t that what we should strive for as a culture rather than the best GDP or the most millionaires?  

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