A Christmas Carol

I’m not quite sure how December got here so quickly. It’s blimmin’ Christmas again, and usually I tend to get a bit humbuggy about the whole thing, but I think this year we all need a bit of light in our lives, and I didn’t complain at all when fairy lights started to appear at the beginning of November. It was nice. Perhaps I’m mellowing out.

A Facebook friend of mine, Jeffrey, keeps posting these wonderful images of Christmas how it used to look. He’s this lovely elderly chap, who keeps me entertained with his fantastic pictures of old buses, and historical Pembrokeshire. Now, as Christmas approaches, he’s filling my newsfeed with all sorts of images that I haven’t seen for a very long time. Old Christmas images that have been lost for what seems like forever.

There are pictures I remember from my grandad’s house, old Christmas cards, the ones you got in the packet every year. Jeffrey always writes a lovely little caption and always includes the words “happy”, “nostalgic”, “memories”, “carefree”, and he makes me feel like the last forty years didn’t happen, and that I’m still hanging out in my grandad’s garden at his red brick council house, while uncle Donny meticulously arranges marigolds and pelargoniums in neat rows, colour coded and millimetre perfect.

It’s nice to look back on those memories and let yourself feel the feelings which they evoke, but it also can leave me with this strange melancholy. Those times are gone. Those “bygone, nostalgic carefree” days will never return. We’re trapped in a nightmare of our own making, where the young people know no different, and everyone from my age up to Jeffrey’s is desperately trying to recreate the good old days. But the good old days are gone. They were fake. They were a temporary sticking plaster on a nation ravaged by war, designed to placate. That post war boom, age of appliances and comfort, council house projects, the NHS, the smashing of slums, the indoor toilets, the televisions, the welfare schemes, the sense of hope and socialism, has given way to a crass, destructive world of enemies within enemies, where no one can be trusted, where communities are dead, where doors are locked, where greed is supreme.

Every success that someone has, is countered by the failure of someone else. Every time someone acquires riches and wealth, somewhere, someone else is losing it. Like the butterfly fluttering that makes hurricane a thousand miles away, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For prosperous times in the UK, others have endured bad times, in places where the UK has been to plunder. For all our country’s wealth, somewhere we took it from someone else. For every extra cotton count someone has in the plush bedsheets, an extra person is made homeless through no fault of their own. As we enjoy our Christmas with family, there are many that have no Christmas with no family. For every present we get, there’s someone losing a loved one.

Did I say we needed some light? A bit of cheering up? Are you depressed now? I apologise. I think what I’m getting at is this. In our capitalist society, the good fortune of some, is always at the expense of others, and I think at Christmas, it’s as good as time as any to remind ourselves of that. The best way to happiness is gratitude. We need to all stop for a moment, and look at what’s happening in our country, and we have to stop ignoring it because we’re busy shopping. We have to see the homeless people, the people living in poverty, the ones about to lose their jobs and therefore everything they’ve worked for as they can’t afford their housing payments. The ones who are missing out on pensions because they were told that their money was being protected, while all along it was being gambled as recklessly as if in Vegas, and when it’s all gone, the big bosses just shrug their shoulders and say, sorry, while collecting massive dividends from share prices that were made big by the loss of your pension.

How many times have you wanted to phone a few companies during the day, but have only got to one call, because it took so long, the automated service didn’t work, you were on hold for an hour, and the person you eventually spoke to gave you poor information? That, my friend, is capitalism.

How many of you are waiting for hospital appointments? How many of you can’t get into your doctor’s surgery? That’s capitalism too. How many of you are wondering why you can no longer rely on the police when you need help? Capitalism. How many of you are losing your job? How many of you are self employed and losing your business? That’s capitalism. As the country falls apart, we have new people every day realising that the system they thought was working for them actually wasn’t. This is the point where we all need to take stock and say… “you know what’s going on here, don’t you? That’s right. Capitalism.”

And while those thoughts go through our heads, we can spare a thought at last for all those people we forgot about during our busy lives. The poor, the lonely, the elderly, the cold. Their days are spent surviving, not shopping. We are lucky. We need to show gratitude. But we also need to understand that it could be much, much better, and not just for us, but for everyone.

Because what is the point in things getting better for just ourselves, when for others, things are getting worse? If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s about time we had a bit of humanity around the place. It’s teaching us what lies are, what selflessness is. It’s teaching us that capitalism was never there to save us, and that it’s too precarious to continue. It’s not protecting our key workers or our society from collapse. It’s not protecting our economy and it can’t cope with a crisis.

Now we know these things it’s time to act. Not as individuals, but as a group. A group of humans who want everyone to be ok. Capitalism taught us to be greedy, to be selfish. Let’s show it that we are human, and that we’re above that. And then let’s take steps to make sure that no one is ever left to die hungry and cold again. Let’s build a society that works. It’s possible to make it right. But first we have to accept that what we have now, is very, very wrong.

Good Henry of Pembrokeshire

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Mini Man, Henry, since he died at the weekend. So many stories going around about him, and why he chose to live like he did.

Everyone has their reasons for the choices that they make. I wonder though, could more have been done to help him? How many more Mini Mans are there out there? There’s someone with a pitched-up tent this week at the council offices. They have nowhere else to go. There are plenty of people in that position, all over the country, with literally, nowhere to go, for whatever reason.

The stories surrounding Henry are tragic. But I’ve also heard a lot of stories about people trying to help him over the years, which goes some way to take a little off the edge of the sadness felt at his death. There have been many outpourings for him since the weekend, and all words I’ve seen written or heard spoken have been good words.

People have an understanding of his plight, a respect for his choices, and way of life, no matter how alien it was to them. I heard stories about 12 Christmas dinners lined up, brought for him by neighbours, but that he never touched any of them. I’m not sure if that part of the story is an embellishment, designed to amplify his attitude to society and offers of help. I’m not sure how much help he accepted, and I don’t know his reasons for doing so or for not. Perhaps he felt that he didn’t want to be seen as a charity, and didn’t want people to feel sorry for him. It was impossible to not feel sorry for him though, passing his place. But he was clear about needing to keep his dignity intact.

I’ve never seen the county so united on something, and it’s really nice to see. Everyone is showing kindness, compassion, things that have been missing a little from the county of late. There’s a unity that Henry has brought, that nothing else has been able to bring. His death has united everyone in a common humanity, where people are thinking of someone else, of their life, of their situation, and of their tragedy. These are all attributes that we have, as humans. It’s good to remember that. It’s taken the death of Henry the mini man to bring the county together. What a hero he is. If only he knew.

I can’t help wondering what would have happened to him had he been living up here though, I’ll be honest. My neighbours would have reported him, and smoked him out. They wouldn’t have brought blankets and kindness and Christmas dinner. They’d have complained that he was spoiling their view. And now, on his death, just like they celebrated making me homeless by getting me evicted from my own land, they would be chinking their glasses at his passing, glad that they no longer had to tolerate his dirty face or his old bicycle. They would celebrate, and write mean things on facebook about how they saw him as weak and terrible because life had treated him unkindly. They’d see nothing good within him. They wouldn’t cry for him like the little girl who saw Henry put his washing out in the rain and wondered how he could get dry. Instead of bringing him warm things and making sure he was ok, they’d be stripping everything he had from him, and they wouldn’t have been satisfied until he froze to death and his heart gave out and they could finally get rid of his mess that brought down their property prices. They would no longer have to share space with an undesirable. They wouldn’t have to look at him and wonder why he was there. They would no longer have to care.

Maybe the outpourings for Henry are about guilt. In that we all knew we probably could have done more. But we didn’t. The people that were kind to him should be proud of themselves. They’ve displayed a humanity that seems so rare in the modern world. A world where selfish needs overtake compassion and kindness. Where no one wants to understand. If Henry had been a refugee, living there, like he was, and then he had died, what would have been the reaction?

There are many lessons we can learn from Henry. He is the best teacher Pembs has ever had. Respect him. Remember him. There, but for the grace of God….

Kick the Councillor

I see all over Facebook that Councillor Josh Beynon is getting the crap kicked out of him again. This time it’s because he put an appeal out for the Penally camp residents. Predictably, the comments range from, send the buggers back, all the way to, nuke ‘em. Meanwhile, In the left corner, we have the “bleeding hearts” calling the naysayers thick. It’s all go in Pembs, let me tell you.

Sleepy seaside Pembrokeshire. Home of Tenby, Pembroke Castle and the Preseli hills where the Bluestones at Stonehenge came from. Quiet drives, lovely scenery, cliffs, wild sea, calm beaches, bustling little towns, it has it all. Holidaymakers have been coming here forever. People have been coming here to retire forever. It’s so bloody nice. But underneath, this fissure runs that makes the San Andreas Fault look like a split hair. The division in the county is so vast that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. It’s not just the boys at penally that have kicked this off. It was like this during Brexit too.

One thing strikes me here. If you look at the comments on both sides, all you’re really seeing is fear. Everyone knows that stuff is somehow off. But no one can work out what’s happening. The angry ones who hate the Penally residents see “them” being given more than they themselves get. They see charity being given to other people. They wonder where the charity is for them or for their families. That fear manifests as anger, and you see the rough language which people use to express that anger. These are people that haven’t really caught up that you can’t laugh at Friends anymore. They’re wondering what all this liberal thinking is about.

The liberal thinkers all see that everything has gone to shit. They in general have a bit more resources than the ones previously mentioned. Not always, but a lot of the time. Perhaps have better jobs, nicer homes, a bit of disposable income, a bit of time, a spare bedroom. They have the time to be sympathetic. They feel that as they have enough, or more than enough they can afford to give a bit more. They pride themselves on the fact that they’re educated, and that they can see this human tragedy unfolding when other less educated people cannot. They follow politics a bit. They know a bit about the history of not only the war in Iraq, but of Imperialist rule in general. They know a bit about how America and us like to go round duffing up other countries and nicking all their sweets. They follow finance markets and see the effect of wars around the globe. They’re concerned about climate change as well as their own investments. They care about the world. They have time to. The luxury to.

On the other hand, the less “educated”, the ones who work a million hours a week or are bringing up kids alone, who aren’t really paying attention, because they don’t have the time, or the inclination. Because they’re struggling, all they see is their struggle being ignored, while others get help. Others that they’ve been told they should hate because they fight our boys abroad. The boys that joined the army because they couldn’t get a job at home and wanted a good salary and future. Who wanted to be trained in something but there’s no training available anymore and to get into college requires more GCSEs than you’re inspired to ever take.

I hate to say it, but it all seems a bit class based to me. The proles have had enough, and the ones a bit more well off have also had enough, but they see the situation from opposite ends of the spectrum, and therefore come up with completely different opinions and solutions.

Ultimately, though, if you look closely, the things that bother them, are the things that bother the other ones too. They’re just affected in a different way. The sense of injustice felt by kind people, who are doing ok, and want to help others do ok, people like Josh Beynon, who works from the heart and with kindness, see a solution in collecting items that the guys in Penally will need, which certainly improves their immediate conditions. It’s not that he doesn’t care about his own. But in this instance, these are the guys he’s choosing to help. The people who are angry with him for this, are only angry, because they would really like someone to come and do the same for them, but they don’t feel seen in the same way. This is because it’s assumed in our society that people should not want hand-outs, or need hand-outs. So they feel guilt at their situation, because they do. If these people who are angry at Josh had enough for themselves, and their families were safe, with enough for themselves too, and they felt accomplished in their lives, and happier with their lot in general, they’d find more room in themselves to feel sympathetic to the plight of others.

It’s not that they’re mean or selfish, and they certainly feel sympathy and empathy for their own kind whom they see in such positions, because they are a tribe and a crew and a group and human nature is thus, to feel that way, to look after their own. Their kin. But if they looked a little deeper, they would see that the same system that keeps them poor, and struggling and lost, the same system that takes their pensions, treats its own citizens poorly, is the same system that bombs these other people from their homes and countries. While imperialist billionaires profiteer by starting and continuing their endless wars, the people at the bottom are left to pay.

War ensues afresh. They turn us against our fellows from another country, and then for their next trick, they turn the locals against each other. All the while, everyone, on every side, completely missing the point that it’s the failures of a Capitalist system that are to blame, not other people.

If a bunch of horses are in a big field, with lots of grass, and lots of space, and they’re all satiated and full, you won’t get any problems at all from those happy, fulfilled horses. The minute you make the food scarce, get everyone hungry, and then you introduce some nice hay, at that point you’re gonna have yourselves some problems. Those horses will fight tooth and nail for that hay, all believing that their need is the greater, all wanting to be top of the tree, head horse, the one that gets the food.

If you create scarcity, you create problems. Our society has created scarcity and now we’re all horses fighting over resources. Why is there a housing shortage? Why are there food banks? Why are there people freezing on the streets? Why is our mental health problem bigger than it’s ever been? Why do we have homeless veterans? It’s not because of refugees. They’re here for all the same reasons that we’re in need. We’re the sixth richest country in the world. We shouldn’t be fighting over who is the most entitled to get help. It shouldn’t even be a question.

We shouldn’t need to rehome all the refugees from countries we’ve bombed. We shouldn’t have to do Children in freaking Need. We shouldn’t have to have food banks and homeless shelters. We shouldn’t need charity and people collecting clothes for the needy. Josh Beynon shouldn’t have to be out and about, giving up his time to help people, just to be told he’s helping the wrong people. We’re all the right people. Our governments should be helping us. But they’re not.

Josh isn’t your enemy. Your government is. Pick on them.

To Vax or not to Vax. That is not the Question.

I think it was second year Biology when we learned about Jenner and played with petri dishes. We learned about Pasteur and milkmaids. We learned about how vaccinations came to be. We learned about all the illnesses that they eradicated. We learned of all the kids that were saved from smallpox and polio. I remember thinking that these people were absolute geniuses. I was thirteen at the time I guess, and school wasn’t really my favourite thing, but some lessons did stick with me, and those were some of the lessons that stuck with me the most. The awe I felt for that kind of meticulous thinking and research. Incredible.

Now, fast forward 35 years, and would you look at that? The word research now means something else entirely. It means watching YouTube and then clicking on all the suggested videos that say the same thing, and before you know it, you’re an expert, and you’re telling people that the vaccine is going to inject you with 5G and a microchip.

What has happened? How did we go from the geniuses of the past, who dedicated their lives to finding out ways to save humanity, often unpaid, driven only by a huge brain and a will to make the world a better place? A will to discover, to be a pioneer. To find knowledge that no one has ever found, and to apply that to the material conditions of life all around.

Now, we have the internet, where people look up a lot of old knowledge, but not enough to form a whole picture, and then make assumptions based upon those findings. They find a part of their theory that applies and they repeat ad infinitum and refuse to see things in any other way, even though science has always been the type of field where new knowledge is supposed to supplant old knowledge. It is supposed to be malleable and subject to change depending on proof and on outside influences and truths.

The vaccine for Covid, made by Pfizer, is about to be rolled out in the UK. There have been vaccines produced all over the world already that are shown to work and to be safe. The sputnik vaccine from Russia. The ten vaccines from China. The Cuban vaccine. They’ve had them for some time now. So why did the UK not purchase those vaccines and have done with it? Why did it insist on producing its own? Look at the shareholders of Pfizer and you’ll see why straight away.

The trouble is, as there are not many people around who believe in their government anymore, the masses have been given a real reason to mistrust. It’s easy to see why they would baulk at the new vaccine, insist that it’s some great reset to dumb us all down. That’s what our government have been doing to us forever. So why change now? They become less reliable with every passing day.

Some people are crying out for the vaccine so that they can continue their everyday lives. Some want this whole Covid thing over with. Some do still trust their government, just, but only because they haven’t been made aware of what’s really going on here.

In this late stage Capitalism, whatever good for humanity that they come up with, will not be in the spirit of those pioneers of medicine and Biology that made all those discoveries. It will be for the benefit of profits for Pfizer and Pfizer’s shareholders. And their wives, and their wives’ tennis partners. It’s not for you, all of this. We could have bought a 92% effective vaccine from Russia dead cheaply, but the UK won’t licence its use in the UK. Ah. Funny that. There are many Chinese vaccines. We’re happy to buy everything else from China. But a choice of ten vaccines? Nah. You’re alright. We’d rather re-invent the wheel over here, if it’s alright by you.

What’s next? A repeat of the Sercos track and trace debacle? Where there isn’t enough vaccine to go round and it doesn’t work anyway?

And we wonder why the anti-vaxxers are out. Can you blame them? What a mess. What a complete, and absolute mess.

No belief in our rulers. No trust in our heads of state. Where is this all going to end? The stories are out there every day of this corruption. Yet nothing is ever done. Why not? We all know that the shareholders are mates with the guys giving out the contracts. But we do nothing. Why not? There are a lot of us in this country that are not billionaires. In fact, if a billionaire reads this, give me a shout to prove the average amount of billionaires out there, reading local stuff. There aren’t any. They’re in Monaco. Playing on their yachts and avoiding tax. We all know this. But we don’t do anything. Why? Here’s why. They divide us. They see how many of us there are, and they’re crapping themselves that we’re going to see all this. So you know what they do? They spread rumours about Bill Gates, and 5G and flat earths. They create drama in the political party sphere where Dom and Jeremy become nothing more than characters on EastEnders. They get us all arguing about bullshit, and then they can sneak about doing whatever they like, with no one noticing. You may think this is all an accident. It isn’t. It’s deliberate distraction. While everyone is insisting that everyone else “wake up” they’re all missing the big stuff. The real big stuff. It’s not about waking up. This is way more serious than that. This is rise up. Together.

Big Dummies

Well… the election has been and gone. Not our election. Their election. But you’d think it’s ours for all the fuss everyone is making. Yes, I know that America’s choices affect us, but the election result doesn’t make things as better as everyone seems to think they do.

Yes, we all hate Trump. Well, most of us do. Having a crazy man at the head of the “free” world has been at times painful, at others, entertaining. Bog roll on the shoe, orange face, wife with funny eyes… we’ve all been taking the mick. He did lots of bad stuff while in office, but it’s worth noting he didn’t start any new wars. Ultimately, he made the same mistake as the UK; he let down the white working class rust belt supporters that he said he would save from oblivion four years ago. But he didn’t save them. Not even a little bit, preferring instead to enable big business and corporations to have giant tax breaks and get richer. Although some pundits are saying that if it hadn’t been for Covid, he would have won a second term.

A lot of people are saying that his record number of votes, the second highest number ever in an election, second only to Joe Biden’s winning numbers, would have been enough at any other time. His vote went up in all demographics other than the rust belt, white workers, where his vote dropped significantly, and lost him the election. Meanwhile, Latino, Black, female and minority groups all voted for him in bigger numbers than last time, and this just goes to show that the usual narrative of his voters all being racist bigots is very far from true.

In the UK, our own rust belt white boys, or the Northern Red Wall as it’s more generally known, voted for Boris in the last election, abandoning Labour due to their inability to respect the Brexit decision. The votes for Brexit, in those areas, and the votes for Trump in the states, came from the same groups, the disillusioned workers, the ones that LBC was calling “Workington Man” all last year.

They are also a group that have been painted as racist bigots by certain sections of the media. Though it’s true to say that some racism surely exists within these groups, the American and the British versions, they are by no means the biggest group, and they don’t explain the voting choices quite so tidily. The voting choices for Brexit, and for Trump, were brought on by years of feeling like their voices are being ignored, that their livelihoods and jobs are being stripped away, and they’re being left for dead. The votes were anti-establishment protest votes, nothing more, nothing less. Labour made promises, and so did Donald. They broke those promises and now they’re out of favour, abandoned by their stalwart supporters.

Everyone is celebrating Biden’s win like Jesus himself has won. Like they think it’s going to make a difference. Yes, the crushing embarrassment of Presidential addresses will be less uncomfortable, until Joe’s drugs wear off at least, but it’s all ok, because in the wings we have the real prize, the Woman of Colour as Vice President, the woman that got nowhere in the primaries but was hand picked as Joe’s running mate, much to the bewilderment of most onlookers.

It’s clear to see now of from the reaction of the public, that they have pulled a blinder. Having trouble with the black lives matter bunch? No problem, stick a woman of colour next door to the Whitehouse and everyone will forget all about it.

America’s pacifier, the lovely Kamala, is shown dancing with children, not imprisoning black men and withholding evidence that would have saved an innocent man from going to jail.

We will see no more kids in cages, the cages that Obama built, and that Trump borrowed. Joe’s use of them will be hidden away. It won’t have stopped, they just won’t show you anymore. The Obama, Clinton, Biden gang are back in town, and from now one they’re only going to show you the good bits. Just make sure that you’re watching very carefully.

Meanwhile, a story that no one has heard, just about sums the whole thing up.

55-year-old rancher David Andahl from North Dakota, won his race for the state House of Representatives by a clear margin. Unfortunately, at the time of his win, he’d been dead for a month.

As the largely rural state saw a sharp increase in coronavirus cases — at one point leading the country in the number of new cases per capita — Andahl contracted the virus. After four days in the hospital, he died on Oct. 5. According to his obituary, Andahl, who also worked as a racecar driver and instructor, was so passionate about his home state that he was sometimes called “Dakota Dave.”

North Dakota election authorities initially had no precedent on how to address the death of a candidate so close to Election Day, and so they decided to just do nothing and hope for the best. So now we have the adsurd situation where not only have rumours circulated that dead people were voting for the Democrats, the Republicans were voting for dead people.

From all of this we can surely see, that the democratic process is no more than a farcical play by Noel Coward or similar, and you’re always going to end up with what they want you to end up with. USA, UK – makes no difference. You don’t decide, they do. Their only job is to make you feel happy about what’s happened, stick that pacifier in your mouth and call it Kamala.

Sorted.

Ain’t No Onesies Anymore…

 Ok. So let’s get this clear. What you’re saying is that it was ok to allow hordes of grockles into the area when we had low infection rates and the rest of the country didn’t. So they all came here on their jollies. And now because of that, the whole of Pembs has to lock down, along with the rest of Wales, even though we still have pretty low rates. But then who would know the rates? Because some people with symptoms are testing negative and others are testing positive. Some with no symptoms are testing positive. So it all seems a bit batty to me.

A friend of mine who works on a holiday site told me that when Caerphilly locked down, a load of caravan owners from that area turned up and refused to leave, preferring to hide in their second homes in Pembs and wait for it all to blow over. Another friend who works at Bluestone, has told me that people from safe areas in England have been booking holidays, only for their buddies from Liverpool or the North, the so called high risk areas, to turn up and honour the booking that was made under someone else’s address. Humans are very inventive. They will always find away around anything. You can’t blame the Scousers. It’s not their fault someone has decided that they’re plague victims.

Wouldn’t it make more sense, for the areas like Pembs that are low infection areas, to perhaps close down to visitors for a little while, but allow locals to do their own thing freely? It seems more than a bit crazy to let the whole world in, only to throw them out again when it suits us and then punish the locals that have been behaving themselves all this time by stopping them from seeing their grandkids?

Even the people who usually seem to have a bit of faith in their government seem to be losing that faith. I see people not able to get routine doctor’s appointments, or not be able to get their car fixed because they’re not a key worker, or their businesses suffer when they’ve had successful businesses up until now that have never had to worry like this before.

The old poor, those who have always been skint, are used to having nothing, to living on the breadline and worrying about the future. But there are certain sections of society who have never had to think like that, yet now, here they are in the same boat as everyone else, and they’re seeing what it’s like down here.

It strikes me that this is the first time I’ve seen it getting this dire. I’ve never seen the haves and the have nots all sitting in the same vessel before. And as we sink like the Titanic, the class divide gets ever smaller, where survival tends to depend not so much on what you have, but on how well you can swim and endure the cold.

I heard of a family member this morning who won’t be getting his new work contract renewed, after months previously of looking for work, because of this latest lockdown, and the uncertainty surrounding his job. He works at one of the more affluent camp sites in south Pembs, one that has holiday home caravans on it for sale for a quarter of a million quid. This is not a little business, but they’re laying off their most handy employee, because they think they’re not going to survive.

They’ve really overcooked this now. Non-essential items? There’s clingfilm all over the books in Tesco. This is apparently to protect smaller shops. Shops that are closed. So where will people buy? Amazon.

My friend’s boiler broke down the other day. She was stuck at home with the two little kids on Friday, trying to contact one of her bigger kids to try and make it to the shops before six to get onesies for everyone, cos the guy can’t come out to fix the boiler ‘til Tuesday, cos he’s really busy, cos of lockdown.

Last night at ten to six the roads were rammed with cars, and the shop at Clunderwen was busier than I’ve ever seen it, everyone stocking up on Stella and crisps. They should have had the foresight to get a tin opener, because apparently you can’t get one today. However, you can get fireworks. I’d say fireworks are pretty essential mind, cos surely in a minute we’re gonna need the gunpowder? Reverse engineer Guy Fawkes? It’s a thought.

Is it time for the revolution yet? Let me know. I’ll put the kettle one. Oh.. look.. the supply lines have completely dried up. There are no teabags anymore. You can only get potatoes and a small meat ration.

Now what do we do?

Get in the Bin

I was at the lights in Broadmoor earlier and a van drove past with the side emblazoned with yet another company who will take your rubbish away. And it occurred to me – they’re privatising the rubbish.

Think about it. We’re forced into the use of all this packaging.. campaign after campaign to use less fails, and companies continue to wrap toys up in twenty layers of cardboard with fifty million metal tags holding the toy into position. We have individually wrapped bananas, which have skin already on them. We have ready peeled oranges, wrapped in clingfilm – and then, you get all this packaging home, and the new rules instruct you to sort all of this out into relevant piles, wash every dog food can, be disciplined, take up your whole kitchen, and then, you end up left with all the stuff that is actually rubbish, because they will only take one black bag per three weeks, and woe betide you if there is an inappropriate item in that see-through black bag. You will be tagged with the tag of shame which declares that your rubbish bag is too contaminated to take away.

Later, you’ll see an article online from The Guardian or something, that tells you all about how this stuff you spent so long sorting out and recycling, gets shipped off to some other country and left on a beach, or gets incinerated, but don’t you dare burn it at home. Why not? Because the particulates are different. We burn stuff better than you can. You will burn it bad, we will burn it good, so give it here, and make sure your shineys aren’t in with your mattes, or you’ll be in big trouble.

Since the new recycling rules came in, a glut of new companies seem to be advertising on facebook to come and take your rubbish away. For a few quid of course. You can’t get to the tip if you don’t have a motor, and you can’t get there now even if you do have a motor, cos they’re closed… cos of Covid. However, there’s a geezer on facebook who can go to the tip for you. Or he can go somewhere. Who cares where he goes, quite frankly? If those bags that have been clogging up your 6 foot by 6 foot outside space, you’ll be very happy to give the fella £2.50 a bag to make it all go away.

And now it’s not just some guy, but it’s big companies, with really smart vans, clearly part of a fleet, new companies cashing in on this priceless opportunity. Remember the old advert? “People will always need plates, Adrian”? – well here’s the 21st century equivalent. People will always generate shit, Adrian. Especially when they’re forced into accepting unreasonable amounts of packaging on every single item they buy.

Look how sneaky this is. The state is supposed to collect the refuse. It’s always been that way. But now, slowly, surely, in the same way that they snipped away at the NHS and hoped no-one would notice, they’re passing this most basic of needs into the hands of private enterprise, and pretty soon, as well as us all having bad teeth, because there are no longer any dentists, we’ll be dealing with piles of trash everywhere and it’ll look like the binman strike, because no one will be able to afford the refuse guys.

There are surely a few wide boys taking liberties at the moment, but once it’s regulated, and becomes a service that is monitored, in the same way the gypsies now have to make you fill in forms when they come for your scrap, there will be beurocracy all over the place, and the service will become expensive, and then the class divide will become evident just not by some with nice houses and some with rubbish houses, but by the amount of black bags there are piling up outside.

Fly tipping is getting out of hand for this reason – all around the country people are dumping their stuff. Roads all over Wales are covered in litter, and at a time where we’re surely supposed to be tidying our act up, we’re making more difficult than ever for normal people to just do something as simple as put something in the bin.

It’s a new saying isn’t it? Get in the bin? Well, get in the bin capitalism. We’ve had enough now.

Just Another Manic Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday, etc…)

You know I went to Brum a couple of weeks back? And I stayed in a hotel? With indoor facilities and a heater? Well, after a rather pleasant drive home to the hills of Wales in the fading sunlight and reaching home as dark fell.. I switched on the light, only to find that the dog sitter had been charging his phone. The light went off after about a minute and half, and I was in the dark. The caravan had been empty since Friday, and so things were damp, as well as dogs taking liberties with the place and the goose having had visited.

There was a bit of charge left on my phone so I watched about half of the MOATS on Sputnik, and then all went dark. And I thought to myself. Bollocks to this.

The next day I looked at the price of flats in Brum while the kettle boiled and now the sun was up. I had driven down road after road of for sale signs, and getting all estate agenty I had a look. Some cheap stuff up there if you go to auction. Shall I move to Brum? Do goats like the city?

So, I carried on looking, and then looked again at places locally, and saw one I’d liked before, but ignored because these things were not concrete in my mind yet. Suddenly, after two nights on dry land, they were. I mailed the agent. Next day I viewed. Next day I offered. Next day it was accepted. Then I had a week or so of paperwork hassles to secure a mortgage and then suddenly. Today, in the nick of time before lockdown as I write this the contracts were sent. And stuff will start happening from…. Now.

You know what they say about light at the end of the tunnel? Well, there finally is some. I’ve been wondering for a long time what to do, and suddenly it all became clear. The kid approves. Two chippies in town and an Indian takeaway? Are you kidding me? The very town where I went to school and where some of my oldest and bestist buddies live, and where there’s a co-op over the road from the place I’m buying and they have cake.

Big kid lives up the road, the folks live five minutes’ drive away, there’s a fair there every October, and there’s swans outside. I know every pub in the town intimately, although not for a very long time. Nostalgia will be the main feeling I’m guessing, along with the glee of pavements when it’s raining and a chemist just up the road. People. Lights. Electricity. Wonderment. I’ve been living like a 17th century peasant, wandering around my land with my led lamp like some 21st century Bronte sister, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, just slightly less tragic, almost to the point of picking a tree, fearful that some being old willow, the rest having ash die back, that the bough will break and you’ll be explaining away two broken legs and a big bruised neck.

I’m not serious. Ok. A little. We’ve perhaps all been to those dark places. But you can’t carry it out when there’s kids and goats involved. You can be frustrated or glad about that. It depends. I think the last two weeks may be what mania looks like. I’ve done it many times. It’s always fun. I’ve never recognised it for what it is before. But ho hum, if it gets stuff done.

I’m beginning to think the whole opd off-grid thing has been one giant nervous breakdown. Where did it begin? When I left Jameston? When I left Narberth? When I split from ‘im indoors? When Gelf dog died? When I lost the shop? When I got stupid horses? I don’t know. Life takes so many turns, it’s hard to know which one brought you to where. Any decision could have changed everything along the way. It’s a lot to contemplate as I drive the miles to my land that I have to drive until other things take over up there. Never let it be said that I didn’t try, and never let it be said that I haven’t lived a thousand lives, and that there’s not room for a thousand more.

Yes, there are plans for my land. For now, that’s classified, but it’s good, and happy, and everyone is catered for. All the Delismurfs are going to be ok. Don’t worry about a thing.

You may have guessed the town. Those close to me already know. Locals will guess. My enemies won’t recognise the clues, and so they can wonder. I wonder if they will still stalk me when I’m gone? I think they may have other things to do.

I’m going home, peeps.

Kulaks vs Kolkhoz

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a photo that she had seen on social media. It was my neighbours, raising their glasses, in front of the stable block that one of them built without planning permission. Their glee was to celebrate their victory in stopping me achieving planning permission to live on my land. If you didn’t see the story here in the Herald as it unfolded, you might be interested to read my book – NoPD – How to Epically Fail at One Planet Development.

What interested me about this picture that I was sent, is that someone can be so smug about such a victory. Ok, you stopped me living on my land. Well done. Congratulations. But by doing that you made me homeless. Who celebrates making someone homeless? I guess, the kind of person that makes it their life’s work to ensure that you can never live on your land and start the tree nursery that you wanted to grow.

It’s a weird old thing, homelessness. You feel really lost. I’m still on my land at present; I have until February before they come and bulldoze me away. I’m in an 18 foot caravan that is cold. Really cold. And damp. I have plans to go, of course. I really can’t be bothered with court. But It’s interesting that this seems to be the way of things in this capitalist nightmare that they like to trap us all in.

There are no individual solutions to social problems. But in a world full of individualism, you’d think that was the only path available. People of a certain age, who grew up as baby boomers, who had good healthcare, decent schooling, affordable housing, they’re the ones who get angry when they feel that someone else may be able to get on despite all the odds. They’re into their pensions, which were sorted out back when there was such a thing, and they live comfortably, and they are able to do whatever they like, in that they build stables, houses, rental properties on their land, yet the council turn a blind eye, instead preferring to concentrate on those that have nothing. A farmhouse up the road sold recently to an English couple. They have filled the fields with cabins, vehicles, tents, buildings – all visible from the road, all making a visual impact, yet that’s ok, because they already have a house. And if you have a house you can have lots of other stuff and you can get away with it.

It strikes me that if I was in the position of my neighbours, in that I owned my property outright, had luxuries like land, stables, disposable income etc etc, that I wouldn’t begrudge someone trying to build something for themselves. Is the world really that selfish? Are people really that cripplingly cruel? It’s one thing to object to a planning application. It’s quite another to make it your life’s work to make someone fail, and then gloat over it.

During the Russian Revolution, the rich landowners, the Kulaks, were eventually beaten down by the peasant farmers, the Kolkhoz. With the help of the proletariat, they were able to rise up above the moneyed classes, the flag of the USSR signifying the union of the workers and the peasants. I feel that this may need to be a situation that arises again.

My neighbours, the Kulaks, aren’t being asked to share anything, to give anything, to contribute anything. But still they can’t bear to see the peasant class rise up. They can’t even bear seeing them safe with somewhere to live. And even though these objectors of mine are women, they show no solidarity with another woman, indicating that feminism was always a class issue, and the ones with the dolla will stick together, chink their glasses and celebrate the fall of the peasant.

My one trump card is that as a Kolkhoz, I’m on the side of the workers. The proletariat. We’re a much bigger group than they are. And when the revolution happens, it will be nice to see how they fare. Not many people know that most of the stories about the Soviet Union and Stalin were lies spread by the Nazis by their association with a certain newspaper magnate in America, but that’s another story. All we need to understand for our purposes, is that though there were a lot of lies about the Gulags, the Gulags did exist. And that’s where the Kulaks ended up.

Just sayin’.

Danger? Just Capitalism, Darling.

I’ve seen some anti Covid vaccination people online today, declaring that they’re going to get their flu jab. On the other hand. I’ve seen people also stating that all vaccinations are bad. I talk about eradicating smallpox, and that makes me a government stooge. Everyone has a stance on the Covid conspiracy. But there’s no conspiracy other than that which is obvious.

I was in Birmingham at the weekend on business. Three days of going in and out of all sorts of establishments; hotels, conference buildings, shops, pubs, takeaways, offices; not once was I asked to download any type of app whatsoever, but I see people all day long freaking out because they can’t get into McDonalds without downloading the track and trace app. Firstly, if you’re in McDonalds, then, well, sorry bro, you’ve already lost the game. Secondly, the fact that you’re using your smart phone to tell us all this also implies that you’ve lost the game. The app that you’re using, that social media platform, asked you for all sorts of permissions when you joined. Don’t you remember? And now you’re saying that the new vaccine will become compulsory and they’re gonna track us all?

In the queue outside the pub in central Birmingham last Friday night, we were asked if we had the app. We said no. So, the guy gave us a form to sign, that lots of people had touched, presumably, in that there were lots of signatures on it. I wrote my real name, and real phone number, but that’s all they wanted. I write like a blind child, so my information is safe, without even having to be on a blag. I could have written anything.

There was a book in the conference room we went in, but no one made anyone sign it. The only time I got asked to put a mask on was in the station, by two unmasked coppers, a station so vast that to me it felt like I was outside, but I wasn’t, so I had to put my mask on, that had been in my bag, because you don’t need it on in the street, and you need it to go into the pub, but not to sit in it. So it’s in and out of my bag and pocket, getting covered in fluff and dry tobacco.

In the pub you had to use an app to order food and drinks, but my colleagues already had the app, being that they live in Brum, and use this kind of magical technology all the time. No one was at the bar, the tables were waited on, it was actually much better than your usual inner-city public house experience. The staff looked too busy, and they needed more people working than they had, but apart from that, it worked fine. There were automatic hand sanitiser dispensers everywhere, making loads more sense than the ones in establishments where you have to press the lid to use it, which defeats the entire object.

I think what I’m trying to say, is that I’m confused. Either it’s dangerous, this Covid, or it’s not. Either you can have streets full of people in the city, or you can’t. Putting a mask on every time you visit the toilet after you’ve touched every surface in the vicinity seems a bit nuts. The fact that we had to stay on a table together, as we were a group, even though we had met up earlier that day from every corner of the country, didn’t matter. We were a bubble, as far as they were concerned. When a seventh buddy turned up, three of us had to sit on the next table to make us into two groups. However, when we left, we all left together, sandwiched in between every other pub leaver at bang on ten when we were booted out. The thing that worried me more, as we waited at the station afterwards for our other colleague to arrive, was that the police who told us to mask up, wouldn’t allow an elderly gent on the train because they made him admit he’d had a drink, so they wouldn’t let him on the platform, because it was dangerous. Leaving him alone in town and not able to get home, was not.

The following night, sharing a taxi with drunk people after an evening event, they had to be told to put their masks on by the poor driver, who clearly was sick of this already. They were drunk, so they put them on, but not properly. Of course not. They’re drunk. So, it’s either safe to let drunk people out, or it’s not. Which is it?

And back to the vaccination thing. Without a trace of irony, people who are up in arms about the Covid vaccine are proving they’re not anti vax per-se, by toddling off for their flu jabs, the research for which is being funded by Bill Gates, the guy they’re all terrified is gonna squirt them with a tracker or a sterilisation bug in a Covid vaccine, when he could have easily done it by administering it to every kid who has their TB jab at thirteen, or with the childhood vaccines that everyone has, or that tetanus that  you have when you tread on a nail or your cat bites you, or indeed, the flu vaccine, which they’re choosing to have. Their argument seems to be that they’ll be forced into a compulsory vaccine. Firstly, our government could never organise anything that efficiently, and secondly, why force you to have a vaccine when you’re happy to have one by choice?

The whole thing is chaos, and everyone is missing the point that as long as profit is in charge of everything that happens, nothing is going to make sense. And so you may as well stop arguing about the wrong things and consider a new society.  

Calm down. The answer is more obvious than you think.