About overgraduate

some sort of creative type with ghastly opinions. i write, make music, photographs, some sculptures, i help organise the 'festival of brown', i am half of 'meshmass', and i am married to sabine.

eu shits

And so the truth is out: we are not a forward looking, inclusive and progressive society, but a sepia-toned nostalgia bucket fed on dribbled gobbets of rotting world war. A rain coloured nation of ignorant, self-satisfied racists. A grey country at the edge of the world.

Now it is revealed: britain is a country of backward-looking ghouls, obsessed with an historical chimera, possessed by an irrational hatred of foreignness. A nation composed of the dregs of migrations and invasions, populated by the descendents of those driven to the desperate western edge of civilised Europe, a nation which seeks now to retreat ever further into the celtic twilight to make a living on zero-hours contracts from selling dubious financial instruments to ourselves, a combination of theme-park and neo-liberal third world sweatshop. And now, what’s more, it is sure to be ruled by a collection of gargoyles worthy of adorning the exterior of a gothic cathedral, the hideous bald heads of Duncan-Smith, Grayling and Carswell plus the guppy-child lips and cherubic idiocy of Gove, stand behind our home-grown Trump-buffoon Johnson – the prospective rulers of a country which has turned its face against the future. Johnson himself, whose study of Churchill has taught him that successive betrayals are the route to power, has the appearance of a cuddly toy modelled on a koala bear or wombat or possibly a polar bear, but is more closely related to a shit.

As for the previous incumbent of the leadership well, i can scarcely unburden myself of all my feelings about mr cameron in one sentence, but i’ll just say that it was only for his personal electoral advantage that we ever got a referendum about eu membership at all, it was he who conducted a ‘renegotiation’ with the eu which nobody believed had addressed the concerns of the british people and he that led an incompetent campaign which everybody felt was trying to deceive them. I suppose I should take comfort in the vision of our friend dave’s humiliation, but I cannot. I fear worse things than he are coming. it may be that when we are ruled by gove and johnson that i think he seemed better than them, but at the moment he is the king of oily twats.

So now this creaking old nation is set in a sea of uncertainties. We have no leader and no policy, no treaties and no budget, no partners and no plan. The first order of business will be for the tory party to get together and elect our prime minister for us. this is the beginning of a new democratic era, obviously, in which the people take back power from remote elites…. Oh, hang on… still, we will have a new prime minister who will have to be one of the victorious alliance of heroic gargoyles, it being impossible to think of a candidate who could unify the warring parts. It will not be up to us to choose our leader (I typed ‘out leader’ by mistake, but that is actually true – we will need an out leader to lead our rapid expulsion through the emergency exit doors. I expect that we will wake up to find ourselves lying bruised in some dismal back alley where they throw the kitchen slops from brothels. Come to think of it….) but up to a party of toffs and little Englanders, landowners and capitalists, private landlords and right wing magistrates. Next we will have to enter into long and complicated negotiations with largely uninterested foreign governments to arrange tariff barriers against our putative exports….. we seem to have a lot of poles, can we sell them, perhaps?

Dave was a jelly, but he was a jelly full of sharks. Now those sharks will come, some naked, some dressed in clown suits, and they will want the flesh they have been anticipating this long time.

new holes scheme

I have long understood that the poor in Lewes are hidden away from general view by being placed in holes. Think if you will (or dare) of the Landport Estate, Winterbourne, the flats tucked between Bradford Road and Leicester Road, centred on Ousedale Close. These are places invisible to the respectable gaze where council tenants have been secreted since time immemorial, the sites of flooding, and formerly the workhouse, madhouse or plague hospital. Of course, successive governments have encouraged these tenants to buy their homes at a discount and then pass them over to the banks when they can’t afford to keep up their mortgage repayments, and some people have done very well out of it, not least unscrupulous mortgage brokers and private landlords. Not, however, the Council, who have had all that money and their housing stock stolen.

New government policy allows local government to borrow more money (at their own – and our – risk) and to build houses. ‘Hooray’ we might cry, thinking that new holes might be dug and the poor placed in them (perhaps even not buried up to their necks this time). Plans have been published. These plans reveal that Lewes District Council intends to build new houses on the site of emergency accommodation for homeless families, on a public toilet, and on a popular community centre. These homes are not to be social housing, however sorely needed to replace the vanished stock they might be, but either houses to be sold at the full, excessive market rate, or ‘affordable’ houses (which in the local context lack only the prefix ‘un’ to bring them into line with reality – “affordable BY WHOM?” one might well ask).

We might wonder why it is that Lewes District Council has chosen to become a property developer like any other, in complete derogation of its moral responsibility and it would seem statutory duty to provide shelter for the homeless. Property developers are not usually popular and do not always make money – sometimes the market turns against them as the history of the Phoenix Estate might tell us. I suspect the justification for this abandonment of social concern would run something like this: we will build houses to sell at market value where the market value is high in order to build social housing in cheaper areas. So now we have a plan which will herd the poor into ghetto-like, substandard, former industrial areas like Newhaven, long since ruined by a brutal roads and thoughtless development where cheap houses can be built. It used to be that even charming villages like Firle and Barcombe had their lines or closes of council bungalows, but this will no longer be permitted. It might offend the wealthy owners of rural houses to feel that the poor were nearby. It might affect their property values, the only thing on which the wealth of the nation is predicated.

I personally deplore the vision of economic apartheid which this policy presents. Like the ‘bedroom tax’ and the benefit cap before it it’s social aim (or trajectory) is to send the poor away from the houses of the wealthy so that they do not spoil the view. That local government should engage in such a policy strikes me as a betrayal of the moral concern which surely should inform the policies of any social housing provider. It is the avowed intention of this government that Britain should become ‘home-owning democracy’. How long before it is suggested that only householders can be considered responsible enough to vote? This was one of the great points in the Putney Debates of 1647. Nowadays we see that attitude returning. Just as with any large company, only shareholders are allowed to vote.

What wonderful new wheezes will they think of next, one wonders? Combined old people’s sheltered accommodation, crematorium and pie shop? Instead of building urgently required council houses for rent at genuinely affordable rates, or even houses that might be for sale at ‘social’ housing levels LDC proposes to build houses for private sale at full market rates just like any other property developer with its eye on the main chance and the bottom line.

foreign secretarial temps

That Malcolm Rifkind is shown to be a pompous fool should surprise nobody. That he feels ‘entitled’ to a lifestyle beyond the means of a mere parliamentarian, (circa £67,000 pa plus expenses) is only one sign of the vainglorious assumptions made by those who have clung so long to the coat-tails of power. Rifkind, who speaks a hideous sort of posh scots, was foreign secretary under John Major and served in the cabinet under the belligerent Margaret Thatcher therefore being instrumental in selling our nation to the rich (to whom he aspires to belong and to whom of course it has always been owed) and destroying the Conservative Party in Scotland. More recently he has chaired the entirely decorative (that is to say “not useful” rather than “attractive” in any way) parliamentary committee on intelligence and security matters, a committee which has nodded its grey head in complicity with every attack on privacy, freedom and good sense which the rising tide of spooks has sought. Rifkind and his colleagues have truly demonstrated that while security matters, intelligence is in short supply – I do not know what hold the secret services have over politicians (I suspect it involves threats and blackmail) but no politician seems in the least willing to oppose the slightest whim of the intelligence community who trample determinedly over ancient freedoms and decent privacy yet are consistently unable to prevent schoolgirls from fleeing their protective families in order to become the sex slaves of jihadis.

Rifkind makes various preposterous claims. He says that falling victim to a ‘sting’ operation has no relevance to his work as head of the security and intelligence committee when any self-respecting spy’s bread and butter would surely involve entrapping influential figures in corruption and deceit in order to exert influence over them. He still expects to be ennobled, as generations of traitors, fools, windbags and opportunists have before him. He describes the allegations against him as ‘contemptible’ when it is surely the behaviour which reveals him to be a money-grubbing over-privileged fathead which better deserves the epithet. “You’d be surprised how much free time I have” he says. The allegations may be contemptible, but they are true.

All this is not even to mention another former Foreign Secretary, equally exposed, Foreign Secretary at the time of various ill-advised campaigns, who, it is alleged, misled the House of Commons over ‘extraordinary renditions’, Diego Garcia, and weapons of mass destruction and was involved with such notable criminals as Colonel Gaddafi, Condoleeza Rice, George dubya Bush and Tony Blair; the famous Jack, man of Straw. This former student radical sacrificed any principle he might have held long ago in order to rise up the slippery ladder of Labour politics, eventually hitching his wagon to that of the eerily smiling populist Blair, the man who dragged the consensus of British politics further to the right than at any time since WW2 by aping Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies and adopting the glottal stop. Jack Straw will be prosecuted I think, whereas Rifkind will probably just be consigned to some political netherworld, a limbo or designed for politicians…. I have it. The House of Lords.

social policy news

Aside

Two things occur to me today as points of interest. Well, there are more of course – the fact that essex has now moved within the arctic circle for one, and that the evidence for this is that the northern lights are visible. There are worse consequences which might have resulted from this unexpected geographical relocation and personally I dread the day when polar bears ride up the thames on icebergs and demand fish, or pack ice destroys Chelmsford (although on the other hand the destruction of their famous nazi-themed town hall could not be altogether a bad thing). Anyway this was a great result for the friendly people at ‘guaranteed northern lights tours’ of Braintree who had long tired of explaining to disgruntled, often abusive and sometimes violent customers disappointed by the complete absence of any lights (apart from the streetlights visible to all in clement weather) and unsatisfied by the assurance that ‘guaranteed northern lights tours’ is only the name of the company and should not in any way to be taken to imply a guarantee of either lights or their visibility from the locations visited.

No, this is not what interests me. First on my list is the collection and storage of thousands of private images sent through the yahoo video chat service and intercepted by gchq under their ‘sheer nerve’ or ‘state pervert’ protocol. It seems that gchq were surprised to discover that their innocent and harmless interception of private pictures was bringing a harvest of ‘inappropriate’ images – mostly (no doubt) of genitalia. Little help there then in testing out facial recognition software as had been proposed. Perhaps rectal recognition? Anyway, strenuous efforts should now be made to prosecute William Hague for causing obscene images of persons potentially under the age of sexual consent to be stored on hard drives under his control, and further questions arise – in what sense can it be said that this is ‘necessary’ or ‘proportionate’ (or indeed ‘legal’) under the terms of even the current legal framework? Surely the collection of amateur pornographic images on state computers cannot be justified, their storage cannot be condoned and their perusal must be prevented? Even if the intention was not to collect such images but to test out facial recognition software as has been suggested, what permitted gchq to use the pictures of entirely innocent and oblivious yahoo users as an unofficial database for their experiments? How could this be called ‘necessary’ when it was merely thought likely to be useful? How can it be classed as ‘proportionate’ to intercept and steal the (very) private images generated by otherwise innocent citizens who believed they were in the seclusion of their own homes performing intimate acts for a chosen audience? And if this is legal it is a very bad law which makes it so, a law which requires immediate repeal. This however is an outcome for which we can hold out little hope since our smug and repressive government rests assured that gchq is a national treasure making us important in the world and useful to our ‘allies’ (the hegemonic power which controls our foreign policy) and our press and broadcast media are so rightwing and supine that the merest whisper from the security services becomes a gale of instructions in their ears and a purposeful omerta spreads over all public discussion. Thus does the daily mail, that bastion of freedom, paranoia and historical Nazism seek to discredit anything to do with human rights and more particularly in recent days attack the precursor to the organisation ‘liberty’, then known as the ‘national council for civil liberties’ for association with a paedophile organisation. No danger of William Hague supporting that, of course, just making possible the storage and continued access to informal pornography through official government databases. But hang on a moment (I hear you cry), all this is in the pursuit of the murderous types who destroyed the twin towers and then slaughtered lee rigby, people called addysomething who are plainly terrorists (but probably never used a computer or exposed their private parts to a webcameron) and so therefore is not only justified but right proper and necessary, never to be forgotten and vital to our security as a nation and our values of freedom tolerance and justice for all (except them). Yes, this is very good and comforting to recite, especially on the same day that it is revealed that more than 100 terrorist were granted secret royal pardons or letters assuring them they were not being sought by the police in connection with crimes we have every reason to believe they did actually commit – and why? For just those same reasons of peace and security which cause us to selflessly spy on amateur pornographers.

There is also the hideous and tragic case of Sheila Holt, a woman suffering long term form severe bipolar disorder who was so hounded by the dwp and its cohorts, having been placed in a work related activity group that she became increasingly distressed and although unable to cope she was threatened with ‘sanctions’ and became so distressed that she was sectioned under the mental health act. when in psychiatric hospital she suffered a heart attack and lapsed (as we like to put it) into a coma. Despite this and despite the fact that the dwp was informed of her condition she was sent further letters requesting her attendance at work related activities. It is plain that in this case the classification and treatment of this unfortunate woman has caused such a deterioration in her health that she is now not only not ‘fit for work’, she is fit for nothing. It is not enough then that the dwp has repeatedly declared fit for work the lame the halt and the dead and has been implicated in grave distress and helpless anxiety caused to the dying and the incapable but now it can be shown once more that they have  caused serious indeed life threatening health problems in those they are pretending to assist. The dwp kills. Iain Duncan Smith is a killer. His murderous rage against the poor and incapable is harvesting a store of human misery sufficient for him to wallow in like a pig in slime. I hope he is happy, since most of us are not and why should we all suffer? It is not a question of who administers the preposterous tests designed by an American i.t. company responsible for u.s. workfare programs (unum), whether atos or another. in this case the lesser known seetec was contracted by the dwp to provide ‘services’ for Sheila Holt, ‘services’ which have nearly killed her. This is the care the helpless are offered at the hands of this government, this is the fate of each of us as incrementally the noose tightens around those with the temerity to ask for help.

So that is two government ministers we should arrest today. Perhaps we could arrange to have them specially rendered to Romania and tortured until they admit not only these crimes of which they are plainly guilty but all manner of other crimes of which they previously had no knowledge? That would be  justice of a sort. But perhaps they will flee to Russia where they would no doubt be assured of a pleasant welcome from fellow conservatives and from there resist attempts to try them at the International Criminal Court. Such a shame that we may never be treated to the headline writers’ variations on the Hague in Hague theme.

slogans

Cheerful bleeder that I am, I set myself the task of writing slogans to popularise pastimes with a poor reputation, along the lines of ‘Incest – it’s a family thing’, for example. I told one of the mercenary youth this, and they exclaimed that I must have a lot of time on my hands, and of course I have, and not only time; but we’d best not go into that, since it’s such a nuisance to get off again, and it smells quite extraordinary……but where was I?

 

Here, I suppose, I’m usually here, God help me.

 

I should say here that ‘slogan’ is one of those blessed words in English that derives from an Irish root, it was what the Irish used to call a battle cry, the ‘cry of the host’, (or, I have heard it said, the ‘cry of the dead’) “sluagh-ghairm” – also transliterated into Scots English as the unattractive and now disused word ‘slughorn’.

 

I have wardrobes full of imaginary t-shirts with these unpopular slogans on, available for a nominal fee. Clothes with writing all over them are virtually compulsory after all, in the modern era. What strikes me as most peculiar about this modern dress-code is that individual consumers are expected to advertise the products they wear, walking around like living billboards, plastered with the logos, names and advertising slogans of multi-national designer brands, so that scarcely an inch of them remains bare of a product endorsement. If I made real clothes I would forbid people as ugly and stupid as these to buy or wear, let alone emblazon and declare their allegiance to my product-range in this way: spotty, glue-infested youths with atrocious haircuts hardly seem to me to promote Tommy Hilfiger (who he?) in the way he would have chosen. But there we are. Marketing is a mystery to me. FOR EXAMPLE: Why is it that those brands which are best known and sell most are nevertheless those most relentlessly advertised? Ford mo. co., Coca Coma, MacDonalds, and soforth. But then perhaps if they didn’t advertise so widely people would cease to find them necessary, and I suppose it must be admitted that at least they can afford it.

 

I have never owned a Ford motor car, and only once have I bought Coca Coma, which I used to unblock the toilet. It’s quite good at that, it seems to dissolve toilet paper, and probably other ingredients of toilet blockage as well, and it certainly fizzes like a bastard when you pour it down the pan. I was advised that this is what they do in the favelas of Brazil, so there is some use for the vile muck, apart from adding whisky to it and giving it to underage sex partners. I did once think of a slogan for Coca-Coma, which was a variation on a longstanding advertisement of their own: “Coca-Coma – you can’t feel the beating.” But for some reason this has not found favour in the world outside my skull. Speaking of possible uses for the apparently universally available filth, in China I am told they boil it down and use it as a cough medicine, which I suppose returns me to the subject of unpopular pastimes, none currently less fashionable than paedophilia, a notion formerly highly recommended by the Ancient Greeks, who called it ‘education’, inaugurating a tradition continued to this day in the English Public School and the great Religious Institutions of old grandmother Ireland. (One should note here that in England the ‘Public’ school is, in fact, a private, fee-paying establishment, a fact which probably explains a good deal about the English, but from this distance I am not sure what.) Anyway, the reputation of the paedophile has declined since Plato’s time to such an extent that one would think it could do with a bit of improvement. Nevertheless, it’s quite beyond me, my talents do not extend that far. I’ve been thinking about it for almost ten minutes already, and ‘Molest small boys, it’s fun.’ doesn’t seem a great place to start from.

 

It used to be commonplace for girls to marry at fourteen (and die in childbirth). Jerry Lee Lewis married (I seem to recall) his fourteen-year-old cousin, indicating that such things were fairly acceptable among rednecks and piano-botherers as late as the 1960’s. I doubt whether the Gary Glitter or Jonathon King back-catalogues have sold in hugely increased numbers recently, (certainly, my own attempts to market Gary Glitter’s Greatest Hits under the title of ‘DOING IT FOR THE KIDS’ have met with little in the way of favourable response,) but Jerry Lee Lewis is still quite highly regarded. It’s a matter of timing, I suppose. What was once acceptable becomes, in due course, outrageous, and vice-versa. Upper-class Victorians covered their table legs in fear of indecency, yet prostitution and child-labour flourished. Quite what they imagined their semi-naked tables might get up to, I don’t know, but it was certainly indecency of some sort.

 

Anyway, I’m afraid paedophilia is beyond me, but I offer some suggestions of slogans that might be employed to improve the public profile of other declining or unpopular activities:

 

Madness: you know it makes sense.

Smokers: a dying breed.

Murder: the only sure way.

 

the parable of the philpott

It is good to know finally and at last that the poor are not only responsible for their own misfortune but condemned by the Lord (and the ALMOST EQUALLY RESPECTABLE AND POWERFUL David Dacre) for their sinfulness to the beast-like and demeaning life of unemployment they desire and the miserable hopelessness they so thoroughly deserve just as good Calvinists had always believed. Of course this also explains that a common word used in the language with careless abandon to describe those with less money than the blessed and favoured of Providence – that is to say ‘deprived’ – was in fact a simple misprint or typing error and should in all places and at all times have read ‘depraved’. It is through the good offices of that journal of godliness the Daily Male that I have finally been apprised of these important and salutary facts, ably assisted by the much loved Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and some presumably heroic ex-soldier by the name of Philpott. Now it can finally be proved that all benefit claimants are actually child killers, and I can only hope that a moral crusade will be instituted at once with the chief aim of stringing them up on lamp-posts next to the paedophiles and asylum-seekers who already take advantage of our hospitality up there.

 

So now and at last we have come to understand that so-called ‘benefits’ can and should be controlled on moral grounds in order to prevent heroic ex-soldiers from setting fire to quantities of their own children on the public’s time and with matches funded by the taxpayer. The eye-wateringly enormous sums of money that the heroic ex-soldier Philpott spent on petrol should be reclaimed through court action and used to assist bankers, accountants and retail moguls find suitable people to stand as directors for their offshore companies and for research into other forms of tax avoidance. The Daily Mal declares the heroic ex-soldier (one of our brave boys) a parable for our times, ignoring conveniently and for good reasons they do not admit the equally apposite and vastly more expensive stories of Fred Goodwin of the Royal Wank of Scotland, Lord Stevenson, the former chairman of HBOS, and its former chief executives Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby for example. No, lets ignore them in their comfortable and honourable retirement and instead concentrate on this example of our brave boys as he stands as representative and exemplar of the poor and powerless in society. Our new mantra and equation will reveal that poverty = evil and that only the wealthy can truly be regarded as respectable (no matter what they have done – after all they can probably afford good lawyers) and worthy of the protection of the state.

As for the rest of them, string them up and me first.

run, run, as fast as you can

The fact has broken over me that our justice system in England is not so different from the widely admired system active in Russia, where ‘dissidents’ are locked up on invented charges and then murdered.

‘The inquest into the death in prison of a man convicted of stealing a gingerbread man during the riots in 2011 opens in London on Monday. James Best, 37, had a history of mental illness and physical problems, which his foster family say were not addressed by the prison.’
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/17/inquest-death-prisoner-jailed-gingerbread?INTCMP=SRCH)

We have a few dissidents here as well of course – and not all of them recently murdered Russians – and the Home Secretary (what a good title for a woman that is) expends a great deal of spittle in the attempt to deport some of them to face torture in their country of origin. But British Nationals involved in the exemplary looting of parts of London and elsewhere in 2011 were themselves awarded grotesque and exemplary punishments in order to make the point that even a stale gingerbread man has the protection of the law, perhaps more protection than the mentally ill.

It is of course well known that some large percentage of British prisoners suffer from mental health problems, perhaps even a majority if we include those with ‘learning difficulties’. That these problems are not addressed or even taken into account is scarcely a surprise, the prison system being as it is a revolving door warehousing facility for all manner of the socially maladapted. This particular story is notable however in its gathering together of various concerns – the violent, unjustified and indeed brutal reaction of the justice system to the 2011 riots, the increasing lack of care for the disadvantaged in society, the damaging effect of the prison system on its inmates whose problems are not addressed and whose alienation, hopelessness and indeed criminality is only reinforced by the experience of incarceration. More salutary still is the final, irrevocable outcome of it all: the unjustified and unnecessary death of a vulnerable individual in the hands of the State Security apparatus.

It reminds me of that blessed state of affairs that once pertained in our noble and freedom-loving country under which a man could be hanged for stealing a sheep or failing that and given a shortage of rope sent to Australia to steal a whole country from black men. We are not so far away from that now under this ruthless, under-elected and self-righteous government, wherein the evil stench of a decaying morality pervades the air, corroding all it touches. Using the excuse of financial necessity as a cover they reduce taxes on the rich, punish and denigrate the poor, harass and even persecute the disabled and impose a hideously distorted morality, a politics both of greed and envy they dress up as fairness. I have lived under some miserable and mean-minded governments but never before under one as plainly wicked as this.

So, my advice to all you would-be rioters out there is this :- “Run, run as fast as you can, but don’t catch me, I’m a gingerbread man.”