The Windrush Citizens

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Hi Folks

Yesterday Amber Rudd – the UK’s Home Secretary – apologised for the treatment and distress handed out to Windrush citizens turned into victims. Thank you for that – something that never needed to happen!

Many of these victims of racism have been made poverty stricken – Mr Thompson has been denied treatment for his prostrate cancer and therefore his life has been threatened. Even if I wasn’t a prostate cancer survivor I would support him.

I just signed the petition, “Home Office: Give Albert Thompson the lifesaving cancer treatment he needs.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?
Here’s the link:

https://www.change.org/p/home-office-give-albert-thompson-the-lifesaving-cancer-treatment-he-needs?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&share_context=signature_receipt&recruiter=22107025

Thanks,
Go well,
Phil

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Yet more discrimination against those with disabilities

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Hi everyone

I’ve just been sent this and wanted to share it with you.

Restore the Access to Elected Office Fund

Emily, David and Simeon are from three different parties. They have joined forces with More United to ask the Government to restore the Access to Elected Office Fund which helps deaf and disabled candidates, of all parties, with the additional costs of standing for election.

Petition to Amber Rudd: Restore the Access to Elected Office Fund

We are writing in support of Emily Brothers, David Buxton and Simeon Hart who are calling on you to restore the Access to Elected Office Fund, which helps deaf and disabled candidates, of all parties, with the additional costs of standing for election.

There are only 5 MPs with a disability. There could be so many more if deaf and disabled candidates could compete on a level playing field.

People with disabilities face huge barriers when standing for election. On top of normal election costs, many face additional costs: for example hiring a British Sign Language interpreter or helping with transport costs.

The Fund was frozen and put “under review” in 2015 but we are still waiting to see the results. Now the ‘review’ has taken longer than the time the Fund was open for.

The Fund is effectively closed. For the sake of equality of opportunity, democratic participation and fairness, we implore you to restore it immediately.

Sign here: http://www.moreunited.uk/restore-the-fund?recruiter_id=117967

Robin Robertson’s ‘The Long Take’

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The new book from the distinguished poet Robin Robertson ‘The Long Take’ is superb; its quality and jaw dropping range make it the most fabulous work I’ve read in a very long time – a bit like when I first discovered Charles Bukowski.
Its subtitle, ‘A Way to Lose More Slowly’, suggests that the central character, the ex GI, sometime newspaper man and alcoholic, Walker, is on a journey and we’re going down there with him all the way. It doesn’t easily fit any category; it’s not a novel, it is & isn’t a poem, it is a many layered narrative, and it’s noir as in film noir. No spoilers, but it refers back to lost love in Nova Scotia before the second world war, is set in California between 1946 & 1953, makes continued use of cinema of the period and locates the origins of Walker’s pain within the horrors of WW2 in Europe. The cities of LA & San Francisco along with their down and out skid row inhabitants are also major players – characters. It feels absolutely authentic and is viscerally thrilling confronting expectations of what to expect next. As with all great writing it not only illuminates the past but informs an understanding of the human condition in the present. Robertson’s research, underpinning his extraordinary imagination, is staggering. It’s hard to single out any lines, paragraphs or stanzas, so I won’t try. It’s beautiful and frightening to read. And perhaps most of all it’s a movie.

As a writer I found this inspiring. I shall read it again. A great book! Do take a look.

A&E

Emergency
No accident
An unexpected horror on the
A63, A48, A43
Nothing to do with me
Tory spinning
Death toll rising
Emergency
No accident
Lack of cash
Lies as sanity
Look how much we’re spending
Lies in suits masquerading
It’s a set up
Making ready
For the plunder
Private health
By stealth
NHS ripped asunder
The sick ground under
Emergency
No accident
The people made to doubt
Certain they’re at risk
Tabloids scare
Red tops blare
Can’t trust doctors anymore
Scarce resources evermore
Not their fault of course
They’re not up to it no more
Lay the blame at demand’s door
Emergency
No accident
Tory lore
Undermine
Disrupt
Create stress
Foster disrespect
Prevent success
Horror stories
Lack of cash
Solution found
PRIVATISE
PROFITISE
MONITISE
AMERICANISE
Tory lore
Emergency
No accident
Say no more

At night twenty-four hour A&E shuts
Emergency
No accident
A consequence of years of cuts
Staff shortages to blame
Always the same
Someone else to carry the can
The doors are barred
No place for the halt and lame
The sick debarred
A&E made empty in a land
Where the rich that gets the plenty
And the poor that gets the blame
Emergency
No accident

In A&E
In the dark
Telephones ring
Nothing to see
No patients waiting queuing
Cold white metal chairs
Bolted together in sets of five and ten
Word-processed warning signs
Too many chairs with sticky tape affixed
Please don’t sit on me I’m broken
No use as poultices
To excuse the fact
The chairs are not alone in that
Emergency
No accident

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
The chairs will be just the same
Signs still affixed
Please don’t sit on me I’m broken
Perfect for the halt and lame
Emergency
No accident
No use for crocodile tears of sorrow
It doesn’t have to stay the same
Don’t play their game
Time to cut the Tory cancer out
Take back our NHS
And stop the pain

In the city
A man lives
On a temporary basis
What else?
How could it be otherwise?
In a wheelchair
On the street?
Yes on the street
Sleeping rough
In his NHS wheelchair
In the winter
He has a nice warm hat
Many clothes
He wears them all
Bearded angry
Viewed rough unkempt
What’s that bastard doing with a chair?
He’s sick back in A&E
Emergency
No accident
Thursday night
Men having fun
Dump him from his chair
Rough him up
Have a laugh
Steal his chair
Emergency
No accident
He’s back
Admitted
An easy victim as before
A known welcome guest
Sitting in another NHS chair
Pleased he’s staying put
The warmth of NHS people cheer
Some cops arrive
Looking for someone missing
Are you looking for my chair?
Call 101 they laugh
A nod and a knowing wink
Can’t be right in the head
Serves him right
Asking for it
Rough justice
We’ve real crime to fight
Emergency
No accident
On the street
Living in a wheelchair
Does anybody fucking care?
In A&E that’s what they do
Beyond the walls and broken seats?
Snip snip snipping
At the safety net
Emergency
No accident

I’m a hair’s breadth
Aren’t we all?
From being there
Being the man in the wheelchair
Living rough on the street
In the comfort of an NHS chair

What a place we’ve made
My generation
Us fuckwits
We’ve let the market
Steal our share
Steal hearts and minds
Atrophy sympathy
Acquiesce
Drown in neo liberal Eton mess
Eyes wide closed tight shut
Seeing broken seats
We stand up
Remembering at last
They are few and we are many
Knowing once again
How to face down fear
And together cure our NHS
Care a casualty no more
Give A&E
Our NHS
A clean bill of health

No more
Emergency
No accident

© Phil Cosker 2018

TRUMP

Trump – derivations and deviations.
Twenty useful dictionary definitions.
1. Trumpish A language of North American (USA) and Germanic (Friesland) origin. c. 2012-2017 (possibly from much earlier). Racist origins. The earlier versions of the name were ‘trump’ (fart) and ‘ish’ (unknown but thought to be a ref to a leering lisp produced from pouting lips and synchronous with a puckered rectum) hence 1. ‘Trumpish’ an indelicate emanation from the anus, and sometimes, unfortunately, the aforesaid pouting mouth. 2. ‘Trumpclaninism’, the expression of extreme racist, sexist and homophobic prejudice whilst wearing a conical white hat. 3. ‘Trumpologism’. An inability to construct a consistently logical sentence. 4. ‘Trumpologisms’. (plural) A clinical multiple inability to construct two consequent logically related sentences on the future of the world or the shape of an index finger. 5. ‘Trumphobic’. A challenging and contradictory homophobic attraction to another of the same sex of a similar psychological disturbance i.e. V. Putin (the initial infatuation caused by a photograph of Putin half naked riding a horse). 6. ‘Trumporlia’, the artefacts associated with conspicuous consumption (i.e. women from foreign parts, and their ‘parts’, ‘delighted’ to enjoy their owner’s whims whilst getting new clothes, jewels and divorces). 7. ‘Trumporliaeae’, ancient origin, women acquired as playthings for use by their owner and subsequently displayed to the adoring public as trophies. 8. ‘Trumptoweringness’. A sad and forlorn fantasy that back-combing one’s hair into a comb-over produces a stupefying erection. 9. ‘Trumpobamaship’. A condition where erudition, and the occasional sticking to principles, is denigrated as antithetical to the welfare of humanity, and threatening, to the Trump state. 10.‘Trumperphants’. The collection of arse lickers and cock-suckers making an inner circle (!) of (synonym) ‘Puckerphants’. 11. ‘Trumphilia’. Promoting unqualified and self-serving children, and their partners, as leaders of the free (sic) and untrammelled (sic) world in pursuit dynastic longevity. 12. ‘Trumpdaciousness’. A spectacular proclivity for mendaciousness in the public interest and personal profit. 13. ‘Trumping’. The act of Trumping (tautological). The ability to simultaneously celebrate and denigrate one’s political opponents whilst letting off unwanted Trumps. 14.’Trumpdowning’. A little like Watership Down – rabbits in the headlights, a lot of road kill, but, hey, everything has a purpose – what better way to feed the poor? 15. ‘Trumponarcissism’. Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? 16. ‘Trumpdysneyfication’. The media’s oligarchs’ management of threats to its own hegemony and management of the underclass(es). 17. ‘Trumpdigitification’. Finger pointing. 18. ‘Trumpabasement’. The denigration of others not to be confused with ‘Trumpabusement’ or ‘Trumpamusement’, (synonyms with the same outcome – red neck laughter). 19. ‘Trumpmodrification’. Unification with god in the service of ‘Trumpdom’. 20. ‘Trumpdom’ the empire of Trump.
2. RIP

Leonard Cohen

I have spent the day listening to the recorded work of Leonard Cohen and I have laughed, wept and shouted with anger, joy and delight. His last album ‘You want it darker’ produced, and made possible, by his son Adam Cohen, is beautiful and made me weep – do read the sleeve notes and listen to Cohen’s words.

There wasn’t another like Mr Cohen and why? Not just the voice. Not just the orchestration. The words. The poetry. The tales never told. The tales teased. Not the just business of being human, not that alone. Not just the words. But the passion. Those innocent calculated simple words that in their conjunction take me to another place, no other place of loss and growth, not a happy place but where we, or should say, where I, have been in his company and grown from it. And that is the point. He was with me and I with him – don’t be stupid, this is not some facile homily, but a statement of regard, a statement celebrating inestimable worth and value – Leonard Cohen was, and will be forever, present.

Mr Cohen is dead
Like hell
Alexandra’s leaving
Nah
Always alive
In his music
In my head
And in my heart

Thank you
Mr Cohen
You will be missed
But yet
Your music
Goes on

Trump & Brexit

I have no witty aphorism to offer in the face of Brexit and Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. No pithy pun to make me look good. No alliteration to amuse you. And why not? Because Brexit, and now this latest populist insanity in the USA, are not funny. If Brexit was bad Trump’s victory is terrifying. I may have no jokes but I do have something to say – and it’s an apology.

But before that – I am heartbroken that the majority of the people of the countries that make up the United Kingdom (sic) have decided to leave the European Union. I am distraught that the millions who inhabit what was once allegedly the land of the free and the brave have fallen under the spell of a contemptible demonic misogynistic racist demagogue and chosen a path that threatens us all. I am not surprised that Marine Le Pen, Farage and their ilk are pleased at the outcome of the US election – they see it as a first step in recreating the strong state so beloved of all fascists. I am not surprised that Putin welcomes Trump’s expressed desire to wind up NATO, why wouldn’t he? Maybe he and Trump can kiss and make up riding bare back and all aquiver on the back of a horse all reported in Okay! magazine? I am not surprised that Prime Minister May offers Trump her congratulations and speaks of the ‘special relationship’ while she demeans us on tour in India with her latent racism and spouts her mantra of a hard exit from Europe – the woman has a shameful selective memory and shoes to match. And now we have the purring gentle statesmanlike reeking puss from Trump, as, Thatcher like, he celebrates himself and his new independence day, moving forward into the fantasy that only popular fascism can supply.

My apology.

I take personal responsibility for Brexit and Trump’s victory. You’ll say ‘that’s nuts’. It’s not. I am one but I am part of many.

I have got what I deserve by:

• Being passive in the face of years of neoliberalism rhetoric and policies that have destroyed millions of lives and common purpose and doing bugger all about it
• Being offended but passively accepting the process whereby people are turned into commodities
• Not exposing the lie that unrestrained markets can deliver good for all – whereas it is the rich who always profit
• Succumbing without protest to the power of international monopoly capitalism
• Ignoring the untrammelled power of media moguls and oligarchs and not doing something about it
• Acquiescing in the belief that parliamentary democracy will bring about equality of opportunity and justice for all
• Passively relinquishing my responsibilities as a citizen to be politically active and not just once in a while at the ballot box because that’s a delusion created by those who control us
• Acquiescing without protest in the passing of power and authority to sycophants, lickspittles and the servants of corporate power in the form of Labour and Conservative administrations
• Being too content to shout at my radio in my kitchen rather than on the streets
• Hoping that all will be well in this best of all possible worlds
• Shutting my front door and hoping that it will all go away as they come for me not today but tomorrow and there is no one left to say enough
• Forgetting that, though I am privileged, I am at one with the disenfranchised, the disregarded, the outsiders, the poor, those described as disabled, the immigrants and those who see no hope at the end of their tunnels and that I am but one step away from their place of pain
• Not saying “No Pasaran” over and over and over again and doing something about it
• Not learning from history and remembering that the ruling class takes many forms and mutates just like a virulent virus adapts in order to survive and destroy all in its path.

So what is to be done?
Alone we are alone – together we are more than the sum of our separate parts.

As a dear friend said to me today, ‘I refuse to enter the last quarter of my life without the optimism that fuelled the first three, we must think, believe & do the humanistic, moral correct things, the dark cannot prevail.’

There’s only one thing to do with pathogens – take the time and effort to wipe them out.

Aleppo

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Aleppo

© Phil Cosker 2016

 In my comfortable room

I fume

Aleppo

 

Putin

Obama

May

Games to play

In

Aleppo

 

What do I know of this?

Shit all

Of the reality

In

Aleppo

 

Concrete splits

In

Aleppo

 

Lungs implode

In

Aleppo

 

Skin

Gently

Searing

Burning

Flaking

Falling

Shrivelled

Blown away

Wasted

Dust

Dead

In

Aleppo

 

What is this to do with me?

In my comfortable room

Far from me

In

Aleppo

 

Bones shatter

In

Aleppo

 

Blood flows

In

Aleppo

 

Worse than pictures

In my head

Sound

The sound

The sound

The sound

Bang

Boom

Bang

Roar

Rip

Tear

Flesh rips

That’s a sound

In

Aleppo

 

Children scream

Burning

Dying

In

Aleppo

 

Limbs lost

In

Aleppo

 

This not abstract

This is war

In

Aleppo

 

On the ground

Guts

Spill out

In

Aleppo

 

Eunuched

I wail

For

Aleppo

 

Assad’s

Holocaust

Cleansing

In

Aleppo

 

For what

In

Aleppo?

 

Bashar al-Assad

Is not

In

Aleppo

 

Assad sips

Full lipped

At

Putin’s goblet

Silky power

Corrupt corruption

In

But not

In

Aleppo

 

Hair

Bone

Fingernail

Bone

Blood

Femur

Breast

Bone

Follicle

Hair

Follicle

Nipple

Heart

Bone

Lung

Bone

Bone

Ventricle

Bone

Hair

Tooth

Larynx

Tongue

Bone

Gone

Dead

Hair

Skin

Eyelid

Iris

Gone

In

Aleppo

 

A child

In pieces

In

Aleppo

 

Assad

Not in pieces

Not in

Aleppo

 

A mother

Bereft

In

Aleppo

 

What’s that smell?

A child burning

In

Aleppo

 

A father

Weeps

In

Aleppo

 

Assad

Kleenex wipes a crocodile tear

But not

In

Aleppo

 

So what?

So fucking what?

What do I do about

Aleppo?

 

I don’t know

 

And the clock

Ticks

As the barrel bombs

Tock

Crock

Block

Blast

Blind

Kill

Not just

In

Aleppo

Is that not enough?

 

Tick …

Tock …

Tick …

Tock …

As the bones break

Crick

Crack

Crock

Broken

Crick

Crack

Shatter

In

Aleppo

 

We excuse ourselves

For the bravery of those

in

Aleppo

Who are

Not us

In

Aleppo

 

Enough!

It’s our world

Stop the murder

of

Aleppo

 

I don’t know how to end this

In

Aleppo

 

I apologise.