Tag Archives: fighting trousers

Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood

Robin Hood is one of archetypal British English myth figures. Outlawed by an unjust system, he and his men hung out in Sherwood Forest practicing wealth redistribution, by stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Let’s not get bogged down in any actual historical complexities here, of which there are many, or any of that ‘men in tights’ malarkey, either. Robin Hood is an icon of taking the law into your own hands to fight injustice.

Part of the point with Robin Hood, is that you only need to invoke him when the system is broken. When tyrants rule, when everything is bent to serve the few at the expense of the many, then you need to invoke Robin Hood. There comes a time when working with the system becomes impossible, and leaping out of the undergrowth in the kit of your choice for a bit of direct action is the only option left. Well, that or lie down in the mud and wait to be trampled over.

So here we are, warming up to cull badgers in spite of the total absence of scientific evidence to back it up as a solution to bovine TB. We’re getting ready to frack, despite all the science that suggests it could be dangerous, and assures us that a lot of harmful chemicals will be going into the atmosphere and a lot of water will be required. The economists who gave us the theory that austerity is the only answer to our problems, came back and acknowledged the maths was wrong. All around the world, economists are pointing out that austerity doesn’t actually do the job it is supposed to do. Our government puts its hands over its ears and carries on. We’re sending terminally ill people back to work because… no actually, I don’t even know what the justification is for this, and we’ve instituted a bedroom tax that further cripples the poor while manifestly costing the public purse even more money.


I have no problem with politics that are about differences of opinion and reasonable differences of interpretation. There are places where science isn’t clear (one glass of red wine a day? Or not?) There are times when preference, taste and ideals have a very important role to play in politics. But for all the stuff that is about the numbers, the bottom line, scientific realities and other such non-squishy, not-soft data, there is only one way to go in a reasonable society, and that is to be led by the evidence.

The evidence all goes one way, the government goes another.
I would like to live in a society where tolerance and reason predominate. I would like to live in a country that pays attention to evidence, basis policy on available information, and where politicians have the guts to deal with it when the best advise available, changes. Not a world in which we pay scientists to tell us what we wanted to hear. I also quite fancy living in a democracy. I’ve heard about them, and the idea looks really good on paper. You vote for people, and then you can communicate with them to express your views, and they represent you and a bunch of other people. Sounds really good. So, if, to pluck an example out of the air, a country was up in arms demanding that its wildlife not be slaughtered based on an irrational ignoring of all the science… in a democracy, that would be taken seriously. We should try that thing some time.

In the meantime, fighting trousers, or green tights, or whatever else it is you put on when there’s nothing sensible left to do. Here’s a link to Damh the Bard’s awesome anthem to non-cooperation, have a listen, and do not undertake to lie down in the mud to be trampled over just yet…

Then go and read the party political broadcast on behalf of the Bard party… http://www.paganmusic.co.uk/a-party-political-broadcast-on-behalf-of-the-bard-party/?fb_source=pubv1

It is, increasingly, a revolting situation.

An uneasy life

There are some potent words here http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/health/make-life-harder  about being alive and not being seduced into mindlessness by an excess of ease.

Not that I’m a high risk of that just now. I’d love the opportunity to be seduced a bit into lethargy. By lunch time I was crying out of sheer exhaustion. Today, 2 hours of set painting, then settling down to work, and there was an article to write – one that, if I get it right, might help thousands of people whose homes and rights are under threat. No pressure. And a request to read through the evil document related to this, to feedback what I can. We’re talking the Canal & River Trust constitution http://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/media/documents/legal/CRT-Articles-Adopted-27-Mar-2012.pdf which does not even recognise that boat dwellers exist, much less offer them any kind of protection. I care about human rights, and I worry that once the rot sets in, it’s in. And for so many people this will be a shrug issue, they don’t live on a boat or know anyone who does.

First they came for the communists, but I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.

Another request for help in the email today as the Alex hospital in Redditch is once again hit with the threat of losing services, including accident and emergency. My son was born at the Alex, they were threatening cuts even then. But I’m not in Redditch any more, it’s not my hospital.

When they came for the socialists, I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.

There are a thousand and one other things I should be doing. This is not the blog I meant to write today – it will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to sort accommodation in Lincoln (seriously, if you live in Lincoln and could take us in for a weekend, now would be a good time to mention it). I have to think about doing the things that make money. I’ll be honest, I hate having to think about money. I hate having to work out what might sell, and where the pennies are coming from. It’s not that I’m profligate, but there are bills to pay, and all that. But what I want to do is throw most of my time and energy at work that doesn’t pay. Protest work. Voluntary work. Things that make the world just a little bit better. I hate having to turn away from anything that needs doing. But every day, I say ‘no’ to more issues than I sometimes know how to bear. Much of the most important work that needs doing in the world, no one will pay you for. What on earth does that say about the state of our culture? We drive the best people to exhaustion and despair – let’s mention teachers, and nurses for a couple of easy examples. We pay bankers more money than any human being could possibly need. And today is one of those days when it just makes me want to scream.

When they come for me, there probably won’t be a heck of a lot of point bothering, I shall be too tired to put up any resistance, by the looks of it. It might come as a bit of a relief. But that’s the tiredness talking, and tomorrow I will pull on a fresh pair of fighting trousers and try to do something meaningful, whilst trying to make ends meet. No, I won’t be seeking out anything to make life harder today, but thanks for the thought.