This is not very coherent, it started as a Facebook status and wouldn’t stop!

I can just about read again now, clearly, without losing the thread of an argument, which I credit the oxygen treatment with restoring, and so I have lots of half chewed thoughts about the past years of terrible Con/Dem government and now worse Tory gov and Labour party wrangles about what party they want to be, and what we actually need in Britain, in the world…and then I saw a link to an Independent story by Samuel Osborne about the Empire’s worst atrocities

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/worst-atrocities-british-empire-amritsar-boer-war-concentration-camp-mau-mau-a6821756.html?cmpid=facebook-post

and realised I had filled in that poll, obviously to anyone who follows me! as someone who thinks the Empire was a terrible mass failing in humanity, comparable to the Holocaust… but I am apparently in a minority, so here is what I say when I have to discuss empire:

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The boneheaded arrogance of the British Empire caused so much damage, India/Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, the transAtlantic slave trade, the theft of antiquities, the crushing of indigenous peoples… ‘manifest destiny’ is normally applied to the ‘American’ Dream, but really the Normans conquering England, then Wales, seemed to be the start of the pattern of greed no longer needing concrete reasons to continue being greedy.

As soon as one group has stolen more than its fair share, it fears losing those ill-gotten gains. The enemies made by all these illegal/ immoral acts must be denied the right to educate or organise… and then several hundred years later, here we are, in a mess where so much is owed, but the greediest of the greedy have stockpiled their hoard off anyone’s shores in non-existent tax havens, and the common people of the UK have barely any infrastructure left with the transport all private except for oh, the expensive roadbuilding and maintenance bill; the healthcare system being undermined and sold off to the highest bribe; the education system set up to provide poorly skilled, low esteemed people without information or the reasoning skills to apply them widely; media owned by the new overlords of consumerist society, pushing useless products at people conditioned to ignore their true needs but to self medicate with whatever suits the market… grrrrr…

How do we unmake all this? not by ignoring those most hurt and damaged by this machine of destruction, or  the choice of profit over nature [people and environment] but by remembering and choosing slowly and carefully who to vote for, what to buy, what to make, what to grow, who to support, who to understand as still hostaged to that machine and needing education and support to disentangle them… media and information sharing are easier than ever before, but reasoning skills and political literacy in the UK and US are lower than ever before… I really hope Corbyn wins the Labour leadership and the PLP who are no longer socialists storm off, so a real People’s party can emerge, a phoenix that burns off the corruption and business-as-usual approach of millionaire MPs. We need Corbyn and Mhairi Black’s fire and conviction and community… we need more too, all the activists who could have been MPs had the system not been stacked against them, imagine Benjamin Zephaniah not pissing on Parliament, but principalling it, being a Black Rod who would shut up the hawhaws and baying pigs… stop the complacency of landowners/ biggest thieves and turn the DWP fraud investigators on the tax evaders, stop fracking and mining and worst of all nuclear and raise more turbines…

Oh, so many more things… but start with remembering, Normans and Saxons made an enormous amount of the mess, Catholic dominion amassed wealth that could fund enormous projects to rejuvenation community in Europe where so many seek sanctuary, and that only understanding we have always been diverse, the people who walked over the Ice Age plain to what became an island were a mixture, and traded all over the world when the seas rose… there is a hidden history of dealing fairly with others before the Norman values took hold, and it can return and inform us, the mixed bag on an island falling off Europe, very vulnerable to climate change, but known for taking on huge challenges… only this time, how about restitution of fairness, commitment to nature before profit? An Empire in reverse, where we went and learned, shut our mouths and listened with both ears, asked humbly for clarification and advice when we did not understand, and changed not others, but ourselves and our dealings?

It can never be fair because the Empire took so many hostages, uprooted and changed forever so many things, so how do make the new ‘we’ truly inclusive? How can power not corrupt? How can a benign dictator [thinking fictional Vetinari here, not Mao etc] be better than a run-for-profit democracy… how do we re-educate, re shape education so it engages people, lets them explore the full history of things the current system wants hidden… What would restitution look like? Jubilee [the forgiving of all ‘Third’ World debts, in understanding that the Empire stole more first] is a start, emptying the museums of all stolen goods and returning to culture of origin, where it survived, and otherwise deciding with closest kin where it should now be held…Banning slave trade, zero hour contracts, companies using the benefits system to fund their employees [Tesco etc]  changing child labour in the textile and fashion industry to free schooling plus 2 hours FAIRLY paid work which would keep the family afloat…Organic farming, fair farming, understanding of heritage farming where sheep manage a landscape etc etc… so many things…

What can the millions of individuals do to become a movement for change?

I’ve just re-started Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken, so more may follow this 😉

midnight ramblings…

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