The Luxury Gap

Reading Time: 2 minutesThe Ungagged collective talk about the luxury gap – inc. interviews with Mhairi Black MP and Wee Skribbles

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Available FREE on iTunes and Podbean

On this episode of Ungagged, themed around “the luxury gap”, we’ll be giving you two separate interviews for your political fix: Sandra Webster and Neil Anderson interview  Mhairi Black MP at her Paisley constituency office. Mhairi gives us insights to the House of Commons and some of its characters, why she entered politics, along with her views on Donald Trump and Jacob Rees Mogg, and we’ll also have a listen in on a chat with Neil Scott  and Scottish Independence campaigner and artist,”Wee Skribbles” (Michael Larkin), who talks about his work and how he became an activist for independence.

As well as those, we’ll hear from Debra Torrance  on  Food Luxury, specifically about food production in the Netherlands, the second largest food producer in the world, Victoria Pearson ponders the psychological damage of poverty on children and why short breaks should be on the NHS, George Collins will be examining the conundrum of combating global economic injustice from an environmentalist standpoint, and the necessity of interdisciplinary thought among progressives, and Chuck Hamilton muses about the American white middle class and their view of the rest of humanity and Sandra Webster return to talk about how she was transported back in time by the title The Luxury Gap, reminiscing about Heaven 17 and The Clockwork Orange before discussing poverty and having enough food to eat.

Nelly Neal asks whether the evils of want and ignorance seen by Dickens and quoted in the 1942 Beverage report are still here now and if they’ve ever gone away, Laura Lundahl tells us we are ALL immigrants, and says we can help immigrants by changing the way we talk about them, and the possibilities of food shortages after Brexit is discussed by Red Raiph, who has been practising his bartering skills so he can trade for food.

With music to get you moving from Steve McAuliffe & the Mighty Ur, Madame So, Gallows Circus, Jackal Trades, Attila the Stockbroker, The Blackheart Orchestra,  Ethical Debating Society, Argonaut, Nervous Twitch, The Potentials, and Sharon Martin.

 

Pulled together, kicking and screaming, by Neil Anderson, Neil Scott, and Victoria Pearson.

 

Ungagged is a not for profit voluntary collective, and we rely on the generosity of our listeners to help fund our solidarity and grassroots charity campaigns, and meet hosting, equipment and advertising costs. If you love what we do and can spare some change, our collection tin is at PayPal.me/ungaggedleft

MY INDUCTION INTO THE CULT OF CORBYN (Part 2)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 by Stevedore McCormack (sic)


Read Part One of the Cult of Corbyn Series here

I have a confession: on marches and demos in the 80’s I never quite knew who I was listening to up on those makeshift stages. I often got confused between Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn (I suppose in retrospect it must have been the beards).

Jeremy Corbyn (left) with Dave Nellist (on the right)


Nonetheless, Corbyn and/or Nellist always seemed to be present at these events; firing up the righteous anger. Whether it was calling for an end to racism; an end to apartheid; supporting the miners; or opposing Clause 22, Corbyn/Nellist was always present it seemed. They were fringe-players; protest leaders within an increasingly pro-monetarist party (at least that is how it seemed to us). I mean, who would have thought that three decades later they would go on to shock the world by becoming leader of the Labour party?
But I digress….

 


STEP 6: THATCHERISM AND MILITANT MIND-CONTROL


A decade before Neil Kinnock triumphantly took to the stage like a deranged fool, pumping the air and proclaiming ‘well all-riiigh’; all- riiiigh’!!’ To a delirious and equally delusional crowd, Labour was in disarray. Gerald Kauffman, (seemingly oblivious to Proust’s opus ‘In Search of Lost Time’) had described the 1983 Labour Manifesto as ‘the longest suicide note in history’.


Meanwhile Michael Foot was accused of wearing a donkey jacket to the Cenotaph, despite the fact it was actually a rather expensive coat (one which the Queen Mother herself had even complimented him upon); and all the while the dreaded Margaret Thatcher was merrily scything her way through the Industrial North and preparing for an unnecessary jingoist war in the Mid-Atlantic.


During those dark days of Thatcherism, all seemed lost for those of us who were ideologically positioned on the left. But all the while, behind the scenes, the militant wing of Labour was biding its time, and plotting. A certain Mr Corbyn would be at the centre of this ‘long march’ to power; as too would a man once famously described by the Daily Telegraph as, ‘the embodiment of purest evil’, John McDonnell.


STEP 7: THE WAR FOR OUR MINDS (THE INTERNET AND MCDONNELL’S TIME MACHINE)


I remember one of the Ruskin lecturers telling us that within little over a decade’s time the political information war would not be fought through our television screens, or via the pages of the newspapers, but on the internet. A few of us laughed at the very idea. For back in 1997 the internet was still something of an unknown quantity to many of us. I think we just assumed that too many people would be far too busy wanking to bother with politics.


Little did we know that many would perfect the art of doing both simultaneously.


Whilst the left, through so-called grass-root-movements like Momentum (via Twitter and Facebook) have perfected the art of the soundbite and meme, there has been a potent counter-thrust from the alt-right. They have successfully infiltrated so-called conspiracy sites like TruthGun.com
One blogger in particular, the now-infamous ‘X’ has become something of a legend in alt-right circles.


In April of 2017 ‘X’ posted a typically cryptic yet incendiary thread via one of the open forums on TruthGun – the thread soon ‘caught fire’ and many ‘Truthers’ -who had long decried the pernicious influence of Cultural Marxism – began to believe that the ‘Shadow Chancellor of the United Kingdom’ was, and is, in possession of a Time Machine. The thread ran as follows:

Proof.
Marxist Chancellor of UK government (in waiting) has possession of device to make good on his word
See 2010 speech to Union congress
Leading ‘Blairites’ know he has this thing, hence terrified.
Hence trying to remove the Bearded King
Think Iron Lady
Think grassy knoll
Think reality altered
See patent below.
Now imagine UK future altered to accommodate Marxist future. Long time in planning
Fruition imminent.
END MESSAGE

Beneath his seemingly cryptic message was a copy for a patent (see below)

The patent (above) is breezily headed ‘Time Machine’ and it supposedly displays the signature ‘John McDonnell’.


According to X, ‘the shadow chancellor has yet to confirm or deny whether the signature is in fact his, as many have claimed’.


If we follow X’s advice (as many did) and go back to the headlines of 2010, we see that yes indeed, John McDonnell did ‘jokingly’ tell members at a union hustings that if he could have just one wish, it would be to possess a time machine; then travel back in time to the 1980’s; whereupon he would happily assassinate Margaret Thatcher.

Thus in alt-right circles many to this day still believe that the endless smearing and attempted coups from within Labour’s ranks are not intended merely to unseat Corbyn, but to prevent a Chancellor of the Exchequer from gaining power and utilising his dreaded Time Machine.

Stephen Kinnock MP. What does he actually know?
(TruthGun July 2017)

COMING SOON: THE THIRD AND FINAL PART OF ‘MY INDUCTION INTO THE CORBYN CULT’

 

By Steve McAuliffe

 

You can read more Ungagged Writing here, or listen to a range of left voices on our podcast

CHEQUERS: THE LAST DAYS OF MAY

Reading Time: 9 minutes

CHEQUERS: THE LAST DAYS OF MAY

Disunity, disloyalty and hundred-foot-high turnstiles on the Irish Border

Steve McAuliffe

The inside scoop on what really happened at that fateful meeting at Chequers

 

BREXIT DEBATE. CHEQUERS. FRIDAY 6th JULY 2018

 

(There is general hubbub and conversation around the table)

 

PM Yes thank you everyone, thank you for coming.

 

(The conversation and hubbub continues unabated)

 

PM:  If we could just….

 

(The conversation continues)

 

PM:  For the sake of the country I think it is imperative that we get this meeting underway

 

(The Ministers continue chatting)

 

BORIS:  Silence!

 

(Everyone abruptly stops talking and turns to Boris. Boris points to the PRIME MINISTER)

 

PM:  Thank you Boris. — (Clears her throat) Now if we can begin…. Firstly we thought it would be a good idea to put everyone into little factions.

 

    LIZ TRUSS interjects

 

AR  ‘Factions’ Prime Minister?

 

LT  Groups. I meant to say groups. Thank you Liz.

 

     GAVIN WILLIAMSON interjects

 

GW   (adopting a mock-creepy voice) Oooh yes, thank-you Liz.

 

LT:  Oh piss off Gavin.

 

    LIAM FOX turns to GW

 

LF: Maybe the right honourable minister for South Staffordshire should (adopting a high-pitched child-voice) ‘Just shut up and go away’.

 

    GW folds his arms, sulkily.

 

PM:  Please, I have called this meeting for purposes of unity. So if we can just-

 

BJ:  Prime Minister before we …. before we no doubt commence with um… with great enthusiasm armed with a fiery commitment toward this, toward this absolutely vital, vital  matter in hand … as it were … I do have one question I’d like to ask. If you would be … if you would be good enough – nay kind, kind enough to indulge me on this one interjection.  As it were.

 

PM: – Are you saying you’d like to ask a question Boris? …

 

BJ   I am indeed Prime Minister.

 

PM  Well, I was hoping to push on with the exercises, but providing it doesn’t delay us for too long –

 

BJ  I am indebted to you, as always

 

    THERESA MAY smiles thinly.

 

BJ  And in that spirit, the question I would like to ask, indeed I think we would all like to ask at this crucial time, is this.

 

    (He stands, and with his hands resting on the table, he looks around at his colleagues, with a Churchillian bearing)

 

— When so few among us have given so much….

 

The question – nay the burning question. Is this ….

 

-Where the hell is David Davis’s trifle?

 

PM   …‘trifle’ Boris?

 

BJ   Indeed, trifle. The agreement was that David Davis was going to bring a trifle. -Am I wrong on that? Was I somehow misinformed?

 

    Amidst much shaking of heads, all heads turn to DAVID DAVIS

 

PM (Sighing) – David would you mind -briefly, and succinctly explaining to Boris the ‘trifle situation’. -And then, hopefully we can push on with somewhat urgent affairs of state.

 

DD: No, that’s a fair question, the Foreign Secretary makes a very fair and valid point. And indeed, as my honourable colleague has made clear, at the Downing Street briefing it was agreed that I was – indeed – allocated the task of bringing along a trifle – just as Govey would fetch the finger sandwiches – which if I may say, are delicious as usual by the way, Michael.

 

    MICHAEL nods demurely.

 

DD  To that end, the ingredients were purchased and the original recipe was initially agreed upon (in principle) with my, as I like to call her, better half – but as the execution of the recipe proceeded, there arose – how best to put it — some disagreement over a few – shall we say ‘trifling’ issues

 

DD chuckles to himself and looks around at the stone-faces of the unsympathetic gathering.

 

He clears his throat and hurriedly removes, then chews upon the arm of his glasses

 

DD: To clarify: the sticking point, as far I see it was – at the negotiating stage – the age-old sherry problem. Essentially, Prime Minister, it boils down to two options, and the options are these: sherry or no sherry; there was a clear division of opinion on this. One that couldn’t be bridged. Unfortunately.

 

MICHAEL GOVE interjects.

MG It’s just a bloody trifle David, we don’t need impact assessments.

 

LIAM FOX: (Mutters) – Neither did he, apparently.

 

BJ: This is precisely the point. -Why is it everything *sooo* bloody torturous with you Davis? – I mean, Gove made the sandwiches: I supplied the Eton Mess without any undue fuss or hullabaloo.

 

DOMINIC RAAB mutters under his breath

 

DR: Boris Supplied an Eton mess. – No change there then.

 

BJ: Fuck you Dom, I heard that

 

The PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY climbs to her feet.

 

PM: Now, now – please! This is exactly what I’m talking about. We need a unified, collective face.

 

BORIS:  That’s a grotesque image.

 

PM  – All this bickering and back-biting is getting us nowhere…

 

    MICHAEL GOVE stands up

 

MG  I would like to add another question Prime Minister

 

PM (Sitting back down, issuing forth and exasperated sigh) — Yes, alright. -Go on Michael.

 

MG  Will we be claiming back the ingredients and associated travel on expenses?

 

(There is unanimous and enthusiastic roar of encouragement upon this point)

 

PM:  As always Michael, all food and transport is claimable on expenses.

 

(A good natured cheer erupts from the assembled ministers)

 

PM:   (Under her breath) We await your Fortnum and Mason bill…

 

    (The Cheering eventually dies down)

 

PM:  — Now, moving on to matters at hand if we may. -David, I believe you have been exploring options for the Irish border..

 

    (Some groans and eye-rolling from various ministers)

 

DD  Well as you know Prime Minister – we have of course prioritised the ‘Irish question’ -for want of a better term – and have actioned this prioritisation by immediately putting – what I believe is a workable solution – out to consultation.

 

(There is a pause as The PM and Ministers await further elaboration.

DD takes off his glasses, folds them up and places them in his breast pocket. He sits back, hands behind head)

 

PM  –And this workable solution is — ?

 

DD looks around at his colleagues, before realising it is he who is expected to respond.

 

DD  Oh I beg your pardon I didn’t realise you expected a full-analysis….

 

PM:  I think that would be rather helpful at this stage, yes.

 

He replaces his glasses and lifts a briefcase onto the table. After some struggling with the combination he opens the case and takes out a sheath of papers. He immediately sets them to one side

 

DD   Ignore those, they’re bollocks…

 

DAVID DAVIS scrabbles around in the case. He pulls out a aluminium-foil wrapped sandwich….

 

DD:  …That needs throwing.

 

    There are impatient sighs and groans from around the table as he continues scrambling around in the case. He removes an FHM magazine, followed by a flask…

 

DD  I’m very sorry about this Prime Minister, I know for certain it’s in here. I distinctly recall putting it in here myself .….

 

BORIS JOHNSON lets forth with an exaggerated yawn.  There is some giggling.

 

Eventually DD pulls out a napkin and carefully unfolds it

 

DD  And, voila! (To BJ) – You see! – Have faith Boris, have faith.

 

PM  -A napkin, David?

 

DD  –Prime Minister, discussions went on deep into the night, culminating in a late supper, at an all-night Salsa bar in Ladbroke Grove ….. Let’s put it this way, as morning loomed, things got a little – shall we say, ‘interesting’

 

DAVID DAVIS winks at a visibly unamused ANDREA LEADSOM

 

BJ  Cut to the fucking chase David -.

 

MG:  -That would make a refreshing change.

 

DD  OK, sure. -Well, we were throwing a few ideas around – batting to and forth so to speak – seeing what stuck… the drink was flowing, and the music became frightfully loud … they started removing all the tables for the dancing, so I ended up scribbling the conclusions on a napkin. Well, conclusion, singular, to be exact.

 

PM  (Sighing audibly) – And the conclusion was?

 

DD  Yes, i’m just trying to decipher what was written… but there seems to be a slight sauce stain on here – maybe red wine – hard to determine ….

       (He leans in close to scrutinise) ….. bear with me a moment….. I’m having a little trouble making that particular word out –

 

DAVIS shows the napkin to SAJID JAVID.

 

DD   Have a look at that Saj, does that say ‘turntables’?

 

SJ  (Leaning in close to read it) It says ‘turnstiles’.

 

DD  Oh yes, of course, yes, well that makes sense in the context of – er – of determining the – er – the Irish border question, as it were.

 

PM  O for God’s sake David what does it bloody say?

 

DD …Well …..

 

    SAJID JAVID impatiently interjects.

 

SJ  It says, and I quote: “100 foot-high turnstiles shall be manned by dwarves”  

 

DAVIS takes off his glasses and chews upon the arm.

 

DD  That’s pretty much the gist.

       -At this early stage.

 

(There is a protracted and stunned silence).

 

PM  ….. ‘Dwarves’ – David?

 

DD nods. The PRIME MINISTER sinks back down into her chair and sighs loudly.

 

DD ……. Yes. (He chews nervously on an imaginary toffee) — dwarves. Not necessarily dwarves obviously – I rather think the MJB guys were using -er – artistic licence there… We like to call it ‘blue-sky-thinking’… the consultation process will refine it further, obviously.

 

    DD looks around at the shocked, open-mouthed expressions of his colleagues. Some shake their heads pitifully.

 

DD   I’m sorry …, is ‘dwarves’ not the correct term these days? –

 

    There is a few moments of hostile silence – until BORIS JOHNSON leans across the table.

 

BJ  Have you completely lost the plot David? — Or, maybe you tumbled into a sodding Lewis Carroll novel?

 

    MICHAEL GOVE interjects

 

MG  Actually I’m beginning to think a hookah-smoking caterpillar would be preferable as Brexit Secretary

 

    SAJID JAVID interjects

 

SJ  – How would that even work David? – A hundred foot-high-turnstiles on the Irish border? —Just on a practical level, you’d need giants to guard those surely, not dwarves.

 

    GAVIN WILLIAMSON interjects

 

GW  Davis is *such* a  twanger!

 

    DOMINIC RAAB interjects

 

DR   I think prick is the word you’re looking for Gav. -. You’re an absolute prick Davis.

 

DD Leaps to his feet, he bunches up the napkin and throws it at Raab

 

DD  Tell you what ‘Mr Workhouses-for-the-poor’ – why don’t you spend up to 2 hours a day, 3 days a week trying to unravel the shit we’re in?

 

DR  Is that an offer?

 

DD  I’d like to see you trying to please both factions of this bloody party

 

DR  Just say the word Mr. Impact Assessment.

 

PM  Now come on David, why don’t you sit down …

 

DD  No, sod it. In fact, bugger it.  I’ve had enough of all this snickering and name-calling and – this, this – endless whining about trifles … and hard-borders and impact assessments and all the endless, relentless SHIT.  

 

BJ:  Getting very red-faced isn’t he?

 

MG:  Positively puce I’d say.

 

DD:  Give the job to that smug fucker (POINTS TO DOMINIC RAAB) – see how well he does. Tell you what, I tell you what Prime Minister, you can deny him his own private jet as well.  -See how he likes travelling to Brussels by train.

 

PM  Your objections have been noted David, now if you will just take a seat.

 

DD  No. No Prime Minister I will not. On point of principle, I resign.

 

    Much eye-rolling and groaning around the table

 

BJ:  God spare us, he’s threatening to resign again

 

MG:  Quelle surprise.

 

DD: I mean it. You will have my resignation letter in the morning.

 

    He leans across and picks up the screwed-up napkin, puts it in his case.

 

MG:  Golly, I think he actually means it this time.

 

BJ:  Bugger it: he’s pushed the button

 

MG:  The nuclear option

 

PM  Are you saying you are actually resigning David?

 

DD I am Prime Minister. I’m afraid I am left with no other option but to resign.

 

PM  This could trigger a general election David, please consider your position

 

BJ:  (whispers to MG) -Or a leadership election (MG nods sagely)

 

DD  I understand that, but my position is untenable. I could handle the trifle gags and all that public school silliness, but the level of abuse I have had to suffer

 

PM  Please David, wait. We’ll …. We’ll have a reshuffle — (Hurriedly) you can have Boris’s job.

 

BJ   WHAT??!

 

PM  No, not Boris’s job, sorry – I’m a bit ….

 

BJ  If someone takes my job it’ll be on my say-so

 

PM  I meant to say, Andrea’s job, you can have Andrea Leadsom’s job.

 

AL  (Looks up from her phone) Wait…what? —

 

DD  I don’t want her shitty job.  (POINTS AT JOHNSON) I don’t want his shitty job, (POINTS AT JAVID) or his shitty job, I don’t even want your shitty job Prime Minister, respectfully – which I can tell you makes me a rare beast amongst this … nest of vipers. No – that’s it, I’m done.  -I’m out of here (DD GATHERS UP HIS CASE AND PAPERS)  — Thank you for everything

 

    DOMINIC RAAB sitting back, smiling, calls after him –

 

DR  Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out David!

 

    DAVID DAVIS pauses at the door and walks back in.

 

DD  Before I go –  I’d just like to wish you the very best of luck in your new position Dom

 

DD angrily gives DOMINIC RAAB the finger, right up to his face, before turning on his heel and heading to the door

….

 

The door slams behind him as DAVID DAVIS exits the room.

 

A stunned silence fills the room.

 

In disbelief Ministers look around at each other.

 

THE PRIME MINISTER lets out a low protracted moan; rests her elbows on the table; cradles her head in her hands.

 

ANDREA LEADSOM appears to be weeping.

 

BORIS JOHNSON stands and casually walks to the corner of the room. Seemingly unconcerned, he piles finger sandwiches onto his plate.

 

Eventually MICHAEL GOVE speaks:

 

MG    Dwarves??!  

 

As laughter fills the room, amidst the collective jollity, unnoticed, Gove’s smile slowly fades, his gerbil-eyes gradually narrow as he sets his steely gaze upon the Prime Minister’s bowed head.

 

Standing beside the food- table BORIS JOHNSON chews on a finger-sandwich, and narrows his eyes as he fixes his steely gaze upon MICHAEL GOVE.

 

-Outside a big black cloud passes over the sun and the room momentarily darkens.

 

You can read more from Steve on his Ungagged Writing page or listen to him on our podcast

OZYMANDIAS 2 (RETURN OF THE SANDSTORM)

Reading Time: 1 minute
Steve McAuliffe

 

They don’t

Or can’t

Or simply won’t believe

That their system of order is breaking down now around their ears

 

 

See, so convinced are they

Of their own invincibility

That they even tried to tell us once that this is the end of history

Like they had attained mastery

Over even history itself

 

 

-But you know what they say about pride

-Prior to a fall and all that.

 

 

I mean, holy shit

It took close to 12 trillion to keep their crafty dream afloat

The last time a major storm hit and rocked their luxury boats

And yet still then preen like vainglorious emperors of yesteryear

-Ozymandias and his select one per-cent of fawning courtiers-

Blissfully, arrogantly unaware

Of the coming, all enveloping and soon-to-be levelling sandstorm

A catastrophic storm approaches that will level all illusions of mastery

And consign them to the dustbin of history

So how very ironic that for them at least, very soon it will be

The End of History

 

 

 

You can read more of Steve’s poetry here

 

BLAKE’S WAKE

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

image1
Steve McAuliffe

Corridors and doors; strip-lighting; more corridors; fast-walking, important walking. Blake was escorted at top-speed. Blake was on his way to see God.
They led him into a bullet-shaped capsule then followed him in… Whoosh of doors. The windows were tinted thus Blake could not see out. He knew they were travelling at great speed however, although there was no movement or sound to indicate that fact.
Then things went a little trippy. He felt drugged, although pleasantly so.
Somehow he knew he wasn’t in danger, so he closed his eyes.
The last thing he saw was an angel escort smiling back at him, the golden crossbow resting against her shining breast-plate … and then ….
When he awoke he found himself walking: down another corridor, flanked by the same angel-security. The way their heads darted from left to right reminded Blake of Secret Service Agents – like in the movies. These corridors were wider, taller than the previous ones. There was piped muzak -Elton John, he thought, though the title eluded him (something about a horny-backed toad?)
Blake suddenly felt lighter, full of humour, good cheer you might say.
You won’t put me in your penthouse … I’m going back to my plough…
He smiled to himself … and then …. A voice
‘God will see you now’
Blake awoke with a start. He was slumped on a leather sofa. An angel with a striped tie was stood over him.
‘So he really wants to see me?’ He croaked, somewhat groggily.
The man nodded, adjusted his collar and glanced at the place where his watch used to be. Blake stood, and allowed the angel to lead him to the doors.
The doors were huge, wooden; heavy wood, dark wood.
These were important doors.
Blake’s legs went weak, his mouth dried.
Supposing God didn’t like me?
I mean, the man with thin lips at the Great Library took an instant dislike to me, even though I’d gone out of my way to be polite to him.
The mighty doors opened silently, of their own accord.
Blake gulped.
Bright light emitted from the widening gap in glorious sunbeam-like rays. Blake expected harps and heavenly choirs, and thus they sounded in his head. He was frozen to the spot, and somehow the doors were now behind him. He was in the room.
He was in God’s room.
Bloody hell.
The light slowly dimmed, the heavenly chorus subsided in his head. And then, God spoke unto Blake:
‘Welcome Blake!’
Blake looked around, he could see no one. The angel with the tie nudged him and nodded toward a small door off to the side. God was behind that door.
‘How do I address him?’ he whispered to the angel
“You may call me … Lord” thundered a reply.
The suited angel leaned in and whispered ‘the Lord is all seeing and all-hearing’
‘Then why do I work in surveillance?’
The tie gasped, Blake froze.
Oh shit.
“Because I choose that you should work in surveillance!” thundered the voice behind the door.
‘I’m sorry’
‘-MY LORD!’ corrected God.
Blake had not got off to a good start. The tie was shaking his head at him.
‘What can I do?’ thought Blake
“You can start by telling me the truth about yourself” replied God.
‘Did he just read my mind?’ thought Blake
“Yes” replied God.
All of a sudden Blake regretted his ambition.
And he regretted his imagination.
But most of all he regretted his Catholic upbringing.

 

 

Vampire Limousine

Reading Time: 2 minutes
image1
Steve McAuliffe

 

We are people of the world you and I

Literally we are of this world

Though the makers of this world despise us

-We eat unremarkable food and agonise from time to time over the price of a piece of fillet steak

Or some of us learn to content ourselves with non-nutritious chemical substitutes

Whilst others among us scrabble around for scraps to eat

Or simply starve

In alley-ways not yet designated prime real-estate by they who hate us all

See, this is this common thread that links us all

We are all

All of us, despite our perceived statuses

Despised by people who never have to choose, who never have to surrender indulgence, who hate the sight of those who starve, yet are conversely reassured by their ongoing existence

Economic vampires

Deathly white, sat in the back of black limousines tour the slums and hellish corners

Of our hijacked cities after dark

Hissing at the remaining ever-dwindling social housing

Hungrily clawing at the leather seats

Barely containing their blood-lust for the scattered remnants of the working-classes

Social cleansing is the sucking dry of the lifeblood of this city

And the corporate vampire shall not be sated

Not till the uninhibited sound of childhood laughter

Is driven once and for all from these few remaining streets

And as for us, during this calm before the scheduled storm

Our lives are barely tolerated

Providing we do not sit atop some precious minerals

Or our meagre dwellings do not interrupt the path of so-called progress

Tolerated, for now, at least until the next engineered clearance is okayed by a compliant government – or a corrupt council

Or a judiciary hired to legitimise the perpetuation of wealthy expansionism

Until then

They look upon us with hungry scorn

Unaware that many among us long ago prepared our pointed wooden stakes

Ready for their inevitable descent from out of a dark sky dimly lit by a blood-red moon

And on the date and time of their inevitable appearances

We shall be waiting outside our meagre homes

To conduct long-awaited and way-overdue clearances of our very own

A battle-cry goes up to match their werewolf call

And the corporate vampire who aimed to blind us

To eternally bind us

shall find us

Powerful stake-holders after all

BLOOD MOON

Reading Time: 1 minute
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Steve McAuliffe 

I’m your master set in alabaster
And though my self-aggrandising policies
Are laundered and spun-dry through media machines
There are always certain aspects that require
The old distraction or filibuster schemes
And if resistance hits my purse
And the worse comes to the worse
Then dare you even mention
The tried and trusted strategy of tension?

Ice creams, scream queens, quantum flux-machines
Has-beens, skinny jeans and Judd Apatow’s penile-fixated stars of screen
We all agree upon
These hundred million played out scenes.

Distraction is what I need son
Something to take me out myself, you feel me son?
When the day’s done
And the sun
Drops like a hot stone behind the boarded-up shop-fronts
And the tired old moon finally drags its lazy arse to light these lazy cunts
Clapped-out wrung out, strung out b-list actors
Clapper-boards and flop-houses, doss-houses
And these swaggering men
Preening like this is their movie
They’re all convinced of their own omnificence
Unaware of their own impotence
It’s impudent and crass to boot
From branch to root
How these perceivers are little more than receivers
And the masters
Orchestrate disasters
And the wealth of the west is built upon the blood of the east
And the people howl
Howl at the blood-red crescent moon

 

From Steve’s collection of poems ‘Thamesmead’ – available on Amazon here.

 

GE2017: Kick Out The Tories

Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Available FREE on iTunes and Podbean

On this Pre-Election special, we’ll have Derek Stewart Macpherson with the first part of his Spin Cycle series, John McHarg talking about voter choice, Richie Venton on the choices socialists are facing in this election, and we’ll be hearing from Nick Durie about how this election proves the YES parties have failed to integrate movementism into their political practice.

Victoria Pearson will be reading her poem Another Revolting Peasant, Amber Heathers will be talking about an election in an age of uncertainty, and Chuck Hamilton will be giving us an American perspective on the UK election.

We’ll have a magical poem called Invocation from Steve McAuliffe, Debra Torrance will be talking politics and football, Fuad Alakbarov will be talking about the election and ex Derry British Army Commander Eric Joyce will be talking about Corbyn, the IRA, Martin Mcguiness, Trident and Iraq.

Red Raiph will be talking GE2017, Teresa Durran will be on newswatch, and we’ll have  Sandra Webster discussing dystopian sci-fi and the elections.

With music from Mark Little, Joe Bone & The Dark Vibes, Captain Ska, Robb Johnson, Joe Solo, Deux Furieuses, Derek Stewart Macpherson and Zoe Macpherson, Husky Tones, Argonaut, Kes’s Conscience, Madame So, Dream Nails, and The Wakes.

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Ungagged is a not for profit co-operative, and we rely on the generosity of our listeners. If you’d like to donate us the cost of a newspaper or a cup of coffee, you can do so through PayPal here.

On Liberty and Dissent

Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Steve McAuliffe 

No one talks of liberty anymore. No one seems to even think that the notion of liberty is important or even relevant to their daily lives, just mention the word and observe their eyes glass over. It has become an abstract too tiresome to decode, let alone interact with, and the libertarian writings of John Stuart Mill and Thomas Paine are not studied at schools and colleges, nor the poetry and essays of Blake and Defoe, let alone Shelley’s Masque of Anarchy. The latter understandably perhaps, for what education minister in his or her right mind would permit the line ‘Rise like Lions after slumber/ In unvanquishable number/ Shake your chains to earth like dew/ Which in sleep had fallen on you/ -Ye are many – they are few.” No, far better to fill those lamb-like brains with tales of noble kings and queens and generals and heads of state as opposed to the geniuses and visionaries who spoke of liberty and autonomy, and the shaking off of mental chains.
And so it is that the most draconian of government surveillance bills is passed in Parliament and no one notices, no one bats an eyelid. For this is how the State likes it. Distractions and misdirection’s are passed down via Diktakts from an increasingly oppressive State, and are duly filtered through the propaganda arm of the mass-media for our consumption. Back in 1644, the poet John Milton complained of a populace who preferred ‘bondage with ease’ to ‘strenuous liberty’, what I described in my poem ‘Rejecting Soma’ as ‘drip-fed Soma and incremental soft-dogma’ – in short, cakes and circuses for the masses.
And as our systems break down, our infrastructures crumble, prices rise, wages freeze and our pensions are raided – other victims are assigned the blame for the nation’s demise, anger and blame is redirected away from traitorous ministers and thieving fat-cats and financial hucksters toward the voiceless: the benefit claimants, the single mothers, the immigrants – and great swathes of the populace buy the lie hook, line, and sinker.
Despite the media’s tried-and tested distraction-techniques we are actually now entering potentially momentous times, times that threaten liberties gained not just over the last few decades, but over the past few hundred years. For today I read that Theresa May is proposing a repeal Bill (described by none other than the Financial Times as a reinstating of ‘Henry VIII Powers’), a bill which, should it pass, will give her government unprecedented powers to repeal or amend any former EU law, many of which have been described as being central to ‘individual liberty’. So, I guess we can expect the Principal Secretary of State for exiting the European Union – that self-avowed Conservative-libertarian, David Davis MP to be tending his resignation soon on a matter of principle, and once again find himself fighting the government as an independent (OK, don’t hold your breath on that one).
It would seem then that when certain Government talked keenly and passionately about a restoration of Parliamentary democracy, they actually meant a return to 1539 and Henry VIII’s own particular brand of Parliamentary sovereignty.
We must now accept that the neo-liberal/free-market philosophy has failed us, disastrously, and recognise that the state for all its power-grabs and assaults upon our liberties, no longer controls the means of indoctrination. We are entering a world in which new narratives are forever evolving, and beneath the narratives new themes take hold. We are becoming the editors of our own realities, and this is anathema to those who would hold control over our imaginations. Via social media kinships are born and solidarity is cemented, new philosophies may take root and flourish, and the greatest philosophy we must share is that of liberty. And until we achieve the liberty that we must once again believe to be our birth-right, then dissent is the only option open to us.
From the soon-to-close it’s-doors bell foundry in Whitechapel the ghost of the Liberty Bell is sounding, resounding within the hearts and minds of man and woman once again, for as Czeslaw Miloz once said, “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”

Let the shots ring out, and let the liberty bell ring once again.

Rejecting Soma

Reading Time: 2 minutes
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Steve McAuliffe

 

 

And so we find ourselves now, living through these dying days of drip-fed Soma
And incremental soft dogma
A shiny self-promotional world in which oppression
Finds its manifestation
Behind manifold masks and expert skin-grafts
And the grim oppressor dons the cloak of freedom
Whilst secretly shoring up the already- mighty fortified walls
And still, the remaining doped-up shackled serfs do not determine
The true extent and nature of their own imprisoning
Coz from the earliest of ages
We were taught by rote
Passive obedience
And stage-managed subservience – to an overlord we would never ever encounter
For a good old while back there it seemed we enjoyed our dreams
And steered-fantasies well enough
Electable interchangeable front-men and women
Human sales-pitch-faces for the permanent machine
Selling us a nightmare as an attainable dream –
-Surface change we could believe in
Tiny almost imperceptible alterations to the pitch and speed of the bleeding
But there is something fundamental changing
Trust me, they can feel the swell of the terra firma shifting
And what was certain seems now uncertain – consequently all the stake-holders and placeholders are to be found keening
Fretting, sweating
At the terrifying possibility that the 100th monkey has finally awoken
For outside their diminishing reach, somewhere out there
Something is stirring
Deep within the caverns of solitude and despair
And yes, they have the means to monitor all these emerging tangled networks of awakening
But they lack the tools to close up the magic box
Thus those who would be dream-weavers
Are now reduced to mere observers
Banks and banks of screens in bunkers
Track and stack the information into computer servers
But still scramble to make sense of a narrative ever-shifting
Ever-developing
Enveloping the still-evolving minds of those who curse the status quo
And consequently they damn the very day we became our own narrators
Began by-passing the machine-selected editors
Laughing in the face of stone-faced men
Whose job it is to rein us in

See, nowadays
Only a select brand of ageing greying husks
Still place their misplaced trust
In twisted dangerous narratives and a machine that’s doomed to rust

It’s coming.
Trust me, this is the hour before the breaking dawn.

You can listen to Steve perform this poem on our pod The Great Sweary-ing In