Not Just A One In 7 Problem

What I keep going back to is one factual piece of information.
 
One in Seven of the adult UK population are to a greater or lesser extent functionally illiterate.
 
This impacts upon jobs, poverty levels, adult education, affordable social housing, a lack of skilled workers, which, in turn, moves on to the issue of immigration quotas, and thus makes for an ill informed population which relies upon mass media to form their political opinions.
 
Though that’s not the end of the problem.
For while many people moan about university education loans, we still find there is zilch money available for adult literacy classes.
 
Very clearly we are in a social mess.
It can not be solved until we no longer have 14.2 % of the population unable to write or read.

Landing Homes For The Future

Yesterday [ july 15th 2019 ] there was a feature in the Financial Times about the current state of Britain’s care homes.

There are now just 8% of them left in public ownership.  Thank you Mrs Thatcher !

While 4 of the largest ones are up for sale.

The problem is financial.

The FT stated: ‘ Care homes run up debts of £40,000 a bed’.

Is it any wonder that care homes are priced out of reach for most people.

Meanwhile the push to build new environmentally unaffordable homes in the suburbs grows, There are however a lot of cheap student flats being built.

Yet the real need to build affordable mixed age housing is the cities is just being ignored.

Ditto – The need to use waste land in the inner cities to grow small fruit orchards, create lots of small allotments, or build community greenhouses is just not on most peoples agendas.

It will all need to be worked on very soon, or else we really will be in a lot of trouble.

Difficult & Controversial

When, or if, someone gets around to writing my obituary, then I hope they get to include the following words:-

Difficult & Controversial.

That is because the kind of world I want to live in will upset those who see nothing wrong with the dystopian, militaristic, or ecologically unsound world we all live in at present.

I know it will be said how my views upset many people, but upsetting militarists, or those who want to keep the status quo, is inevitable if one campaigns to create a better world.

The Suburban Nightmare.

Increasingly what I have been saying is that the suburban dream is really an ecological nightmare, and we need to shrink the size of the suburbs.

If this view upsets people so be it, but we can’t keep living this way.

Look at the facts.

These opinions are based upon both reading a very wide range of highly depressing reports, and a lot of observations.

They are not the result of any kind of emotional outpouring, but come via looking at cold blooded facts.

These reports and statistical reports are available for everyone to study.

Now read on – – –

Getting Our Message Over – It’s NOT Numbers Which Count.

I keep being told that we need large numbers of people upon marches or demonstrations.

This is NOT the case.

What we need are dedicated activists who will keep going day by week, by month[s], by year by decades.

Doing all the small scale pickets and leafleting sessions that are so important in getting our messages over to people.

It’s not protest numbers that we ever need to worry about, but communicating to people upon a very wide range of issues. 

This is especially so if they have never come upon them before now.

That’s why we need more people willing to do all the very regular leafleting sessions outside of those stations where the DRS nukiller waste trains go through.

Now do any of you want to come join me doing so outside any of these station?

Working Towards A Utopian Reality

I never wanted to be an ‘Expert’ or ‘Specialist’.

Perhaps that’s why I spend most of my life doing library and information work, for to do so effectively one need to know something about everything. Though the main skill is to know just where to find that information.

Now I am retired most of my time is spent in campaigning work.

Though in order to do so I have to read a lot of specialist reports, daily newspapers, periodicals, and websites.

Now that I am retired most of my current campaigning centres around those issues where there are very few activists to share the work with, or which are so very time consuming that it would be impossible to follow these issues while in full time employment.

While I was still working much of my activist time was spent using my information organising skills. That starts with organising filing systems, scanning for information, and so forth. I’m still doing the same.

Lifestyle and Campaigning.

There was a popular saying much used in the 1960s & early 1970s: –

Think Global Act Local.

Though to that I would add that it is impossible to do effective campaigning without looking at how one structures ones own life.

Thus the importance of recycling, having a vegan diet, walking or taking public transport, cutting down on ones energy usage, and using sustainable materials rather than plastics.

Though none of this is easy to achieve unless more people are doing the same, while constantly reading the ingredients or contents of everything one buys.

The greater problem is getting more recycling facilities where we are all live.

Urban allotments, solar panels and vertical wind turbines to power our homes and street lighting, inner city orchards, more foot paths and tram routes, are what we should also be campaigning for.

While one of our greatest needs is to shrink the suburbs, so that all the space used on roads would become forests. Many people think that this might result in overcrowding in our inner cities, but the concreted over suburban sprawl does result in more flooding. While if the concrete covered roads and squares were covered in plants and trees, then it would give us more flexible housing space. In the same way we need to cut the various out of town shopping centres, and large out of town factories. Then we can have more specialist shops and work shops, and repair centres where we all live.

There is also another aspect of shrinking the suburban mess which needs to be considered. It would help combat the social isolation which is such a depressing feature of many peoples lives. This is especially so in areas where there are very few social contact points such shops or libraries, and where public transport is so abysmal.

None of this is a utopian vision.

All of these aims can be achieved via joined-up-campaigning.

It can be done !

AIR Again

How many 1,000s of words have I penned over the years?

I just don’t know, as I’ve never even counted all the letters, emails, and articles which I have written.

However: –

Just once in a while something I wrote becomes available again.

This has just happened.

Between 1990 & 1992 Librarians Within the Peace Movement published 10 issues of AIR [ Alternative Information Record ]. This was before LWPM merged in to ISC [ Information for Social Change].

They were produced with the printing technology that was available to us during that era: – typewriters & photocopiers.

All the copies of AIR are now to be found via the table of contents page of Information for Social Change website.

Here is a link to one of them.

Voting Like Petitioning.

I sign several petitions each week.

Of late I have come to realise that voting is very much like signing petitions.

Both are indicative, and both rely upon large numbers of people to take part in this most basic form of protest.

A traditional Anarchist Viewpoint.

I’ve always taken the traditional Anarchist line, None of the Above, as the only choice is between a party of crooks and a party of bandits.

In any case, I take it as Highly Irresponsible to Negate our Individual Responsibilities, by handing decision making over to a bunch of self serving politicians.

To quote the quote: – Guy Fawkes: The only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

On the other hand I’ve spent most of my life as a campaigner, or what these days is refereed to as engaging in activism.

Yet things change.

For the first time in my life I have registered to vote.

This is in order to do so in the forthcoming EU election.

It is because I feel so incensed by the whole Brexit disaster, that I want to do everything possible to stop it from happening.

Though it’s the push to stopping Brexit by a referendum which really needs doing.

I’ll still be out leafleting and taking part on other forms of protest, but will engage in one other form of protest against Brexit – voting.

Long Term Rules For Activists – Part 7

This is an insight as to how I think about political action.

The more people working on an issue – the less I’m inclined to work on it.

While the less people working on an issue – the more i’m inclined to work on it.

With so few activists doing much about a whole range of issues, this is the most realistic way I know of achieving results.

This runs in the opposite direction to the idea expressed by many individuals, that we need large demonstrations that will attract a very large numbers of people.

It’s the ‘one last push’ idea that keeps being pushed by many campainging organisation, but it just does not work.

Many of these large demonstrations are just very symbobic in nature, and have become so common that they are easily ignored by the powers that be..

While with small scale pickets & lealeting sessions it’s possible communicate our concens to individuals.

Drax Shareholders Revolt For All The Wrong Reason.

Drax has been in the news this week, such as in the FT.

It is all about how the company shareholders are in revolt about what the directors are getting paid.

A report in Utilityweek mentions this issue:

‘ Almost a fifth of shareholders at Drax rejected a motion to approve its remuneration report increasing executive pay during the company’s annual general meeting yesterday (17 April). ‘

Followed by an almost throw away line which states: –

‘A protest organised by Biofuelwatch was held outside the AGM and Drax’s power station in Yorkshire yesterday.’

 

It’s a pity that most activist publicity only mentioned the protest outside the plant, and not the one outside the agm.

Perhaps with more notice, it might be possible to organise a trip to chat to the company shareholders at next years agm.