On March 17th 2012 I chose to enter the political ‘arena’ in a pro-active way by writing ‘a letter a day to number 10’. It was a personal decision because I had passed the tipping point in what I could stomach from a government which continues to have a callous disregard for the lives and well being of ordinary people.
The irony was not wasted on me that I was writing to the Prime Minister of a government which was implementing the final solution, the eradication of the lives of all those considered to be useless eaters, of whom I was one.
It was a refusal, on my part, to slip silently into the grave without protest. In limited circumstances the one thing I could exercise was my voice, as protest, and if the letters proved anything, it was in the lack of a single reply from the man responsible for what we now know was the implementation of a pogrom of genocide on the most vulnerable people in society.
Prior to Theresa May’s snap election in 2017 Disability activist and writer Fiona Robertson wrote, “Voting Tory in #GE17 is a vote to kill people like me, and you need to know why.” She went on to say that following the 2015 General Election, “Amid the elation so many in Scotland felt at the sweep of SNP seats, we disabled people also felt utterly betrayed and hopeless, because the population of the UK had voted to enforce extreme, frequently lethal, damage to our health.”
I watched on the Internet in the early hours of 8 May 2015 as the results of the General Election came in with the growing realisation that either through ignorance or callous disregard, the voting public had committed us to another five years of Tory misrule and the brutal destruction of our lives. I shall never forget the overwhelming feelings of despair and hopelessness that crushed me for days afterwards.
I wrote to Cameron on the 10 May, “For those who rely on help from society for whatever reason, another five years of you and your government is going to be an unmitigated disaster, striking terror in their hearts and facing the very real possibility of literally being driven to death. Austerity is merely the deceit of transferring financial risk to the poor. Capitalising on people who Iain Duncan Smith refers to as ‘stock’ and treated as expendable, after all suicide is good for business, getting rid of the high cost elements and concentrating on the stock you can manipulate, not the dead end stock, like the disabled.”
As the facts have emerged out of the Grenfell Tower disaster, it is clear that it was an act of genocide, a disaster that was waiting to happen for which warnings had been consistently given and ignored and even silenced, but worse, far worse, was the arrogant disregard for safety by those responsible. Cost cutting, corner cutting, disregard for safety regulations, meant that the disaster happened with all the inevitability of a killing ground by those who cared nothing for those who lived and died there. Grenfell Tower was social murder because, quite simply, the lives of those who lived there did not matter and everything that has happened since only serves to reinforce that simple but catastrophic fact.
So why write this, what can possibly be the point in writing about genocide whilst it is happening and will continue to happen whilst the perpetrators do everything to evade and avoid any form of accountability?
It is quite simply that, when representative democracy dies, killed by those who have set themselves above the law, only the people can resurrect democracy. When our lives become forfeit for the sake of profit and greed and the doors of the privileged and powerful in government are slammed in our faces, then we are the last and only bastion of democracy and its only hope.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been told to be silent, criticised for penning a letter a day to David Cameron, I was even offered a proper rewrite of one of my letters in the appropriate language to use to those in power, to which I have said every time, ‘I am not a democracy’. I did not seek anyone’s permission to speak out, nor offer anyone a vote on the matter, because I am exercising a right, as now, which is not subject to permit. Rights are sovereign, inaccessible to democracy, and yet are the heart, soul and expression of democracy. The absolute right of ordinary people is the exercise of democracy, and anyone who stands against that is a despot, a tin pot dictator, and, above all, a fool because they are seeking to destroy their own rights and their own freedoms by attempting to curtail mine.
Are we a ship of fools to stand silent whilst the boat is scuttled? Is that not absurd? The residents of Grenfell Tower were not listened to and are still not being listened to. Is the answer, then, to be silent? To give up? Surely the answer is to make such a noise and clamour that those who ignore us quake in their boots and if they are inconvenienced by that, good, so they damned well ought to be.
The powers that be, including Theresa May, have said there will be an investigation into the Grenfell Tower disaster. Should the survivors of genocide be silent whilst its perpetrators investigate it? Is that a joke?
Several people have resigned in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, each of them to golden handshakes and doubtless gold plated pensions as well, just as David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister to a life of greater privilege and wealth, just as May will when she finally resigns or is driven out. Poor people can be sanctioned and deprived of the means of survival for being a minute late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, whilst those at the top are rewarded for the policies that kill poor people or cause them to take their lives.
Excuse me if I get above myself in saying that’s not right. They can call us all the names under the sun, rabble, ‘stock’, extremists, yobs, malcontents, Marxists, Communists, Corbynistas, socialists… Socialists!?! Is that meant to be an insult?
Writing in the Dorset Eye, Eddy Abs offered ‘A quick explanation of socialism’. “You know the way you love your family? The way you’d do anything to protect them? Extend that feeling to everyone else and that’s socialism. In a nutshell.”
If you want to know what democracy is, if your child is being bullied at school and you decide to do something about it to protect her, that’s democracy, in action. The exercise of an inalienable right when it is threatened is the expression of democracy. There are a million ways to express democracy, but few that suppress it and always by illegitimate force by those who pretend to legitimacy through the imposition of intimidation and fear.
Do I fear the government? Yes. They are horrifying and despicable. Should I be silent? No. Should I be cowed? No. Should I respect them because they are in a position of power? No. Should I do what I am told? Should I submit to their power? Should I forsake my own life in silence because they have the power to kill me? Isn’t it obvious? Do you need my answers? Are you a democracy? Or do you already know your own answers and your own mind because you are not a democracy? You, dear reader, are a sovereign being, just as I am and being a sovereign being can be very, very scary, but we are worth fighting for and we are worth fighting for our selves.
These are truly bad times and yet more and more people are waking up and realising that we are the people we have been waiting for. It has always been so. Whatever Jeremy Corbyn has to offer us, he cannot do it without us. The Tories have made it very clear that they can do without us and our inconvenient lives, whatever Jeremy Corbyn has to offer he needs us because we are the people who will make it happen. Who built the NHS that the Tories are stealing from us? Who teaches our children, who operates our frontline services, who make the wealth of the nation? It has always been us, even though we have been despised for doing so.
We may not have been consulted, but we bailed the banks out and saved the corrupt financial system. Did anyone hear a thank you?
KOG. 06 July 2017