Nothing Matters (VI)

Bubbling along

Without a care in the world

Ignorance is bliss

n.b. Street homeless, racism, violent crime, poverty, the 1%, addictions, outbreaks of disease, falling life expectancy, war, climate breakdown. “Nothing I can do about it” I hear. Is this true? I wonder.

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CLP 18/12/2019

Sub-Machine Guns, South Street, Chichester

In the season of goodwill to all it is a little disconcerting to see two police officers, each with a sub-machine gun at the ready, patrolling side-by-side on South Street, Chichester.

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I was told yesterday that Sussex Police are increasing its number of armed officers. This is apparently due to the area having a major airport to cover at Gatwick in this time of perpetual terrorism threat and the increasing vigilance needed when investigating drug-dealing firms, who have possession of firearms.

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Sussex (split administratively into West and East) is an area that includes a substantial part of England’s south coast. It has two long-established ports at Shoreham and Newhaven, several marinas and many easy landing spots used for hundreds of years for smuggling, such as Felpham. Sussex also has particular problems within the internationally popular party city of Brighton, with its high demand for recreational drugs and the illicit trade that supplies them.

The coastline of Sussex is also quite heavily urbanised around railway termini linked to London. These towns were established in the Victorian era and initially attracted commercial investment and tourism to the “Coastal Strip”. These seaside conurbations now have complex social problems, including drug abuse. Towns such as Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Hastings have high concentrations of social deprivation and significant numbers of low income households, high numbers of street homeless and homeless people. These people can become victims of drug dependency and again provide opportunities for criminal business enterprises.

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Under Tory enforced Austerity policies crime in the UK has become more difficult to address. However, seeing armed police officers on the streets is far from reassuring.

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Large scale crime is organised, financed and profited from by people who are unlikely to be running around with guns in the tiny cathedral city of Chichester. More resources are needed to investigate illegal revenue sources, where the earnings are banked and by whom. I would like to know that more police officers who can read company accounts and understand digital financial movements have been deployed to help identify the management of crime syndicates and the lawyers and bankers who work with them.

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Placing armed response police officers into wealthy shopping centres at Christmas is driven by a need to be able to react immediately to acts of terrorism as and when they occur.

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However, it does seems a bit of a lottery about where to locate these teams and when. However, it is a very public gesture and I totally respect the men and women who are employed in these roles. The increased distribution and possession of guns in the UK is something that has to be acknowledged and these officers are needed to be able to deal with this issue.

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n.n.b. 24 hours later this happened…in Hull.

CLP 15/12/2019

Fat Blond Bloke

A draught cloaks each step

Sucks the heat from the air

Light from day

Magic from the stars

Living in a perpetual November

Each night longer than the last

Dying embers of joie de vie

Falling through the grate

Hope extinguished

By the puddle of cold sick

Retched up by the Lying Liar’s lies

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n.b. I would like to thank Alexander Boris Johnson for inspiring me to write this poem and John Crace of The Guardian.

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CLP 07/12/2019

On Tories

As gulls who paddle

Their feet on the earth like rain

Calling the worms up

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n.b. Is this the last General Election of the country currently known as The United Kingdom? The three kingdoms of England (& Wales), Scotland and (Northern) Ireland united under an Act of Parliament on the appointment of James VI of Scotland to the English throne is coming apart at the seams.

The Tories, supposedly the Conservative & Unionist Party are tearing the country to pieces, but still they promise the earth to the gullible when they only deliver division and despair. “Britain deserves better” they cry…”than another Tory government!” the reply. Even in this slogan they have dropped any reference to Northern Ireland. “Avoid a Hung Parliament” they urge. Is this tongue in throat gallows humour? Don’t put ideas into peoples’ heads I advise.

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n.n.b. The first monarch (James I) of the United Kingdom also had the title of King of France. This was a hang-over from earlier centuries when the descendants of Normandy ruled England after the invasion of 1066 CE. Which just shows that the aristocracy’s tendency to be out of touch (e.g. Rees-Mogg) is nothing new.

CLP 10/11/2019

October (I)

Irregular beats

Speckle tight canvas cover

Rain’s rhythm persists

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n.b. Now there is plenty of rain. October in Somerset has been remarkably wet. The damp air has slowed the arrival of autumn colours, although grass is turning yellow where the roots have become saturated.

This afternoon I saw a washed out, pale pink earth worm writhing on the sodden lawn, after it had struggled to the surface in the middle of another intense period of the seemingly unceasing rain. The local blackbirds are happy for such gifts.

The water table will benefit and the streams will refill. However, in the local village, many house owners have replaced grass with hard-surfacing for car parking. This ground work increases surface run-off that puts pressure on the drainage system, designed before car ownership had reached current levels. Combined with erratic rain patterns that produce intense, or prolonged periods of precipitation, risks of flash flooding and water damage increase as a result of further moulding the land for the convenience of motorised transport.

Three years ago The Guardian published the following article, but the message does not seem to have got through.

Why concrete + rain = flash floods

Increasing pressure on local government finances, due to national government’s “Austerity” measures, has led to more street parking restrictions in residential areas. Residents then replace front gardens with personal car parking; this restricts street parking capacity because these car drivers need to access these spaces directly across the pavements, which encourages more property owners to convert gardens to car spaces. Then when it rains, flood risk rises as there is less natural soak-away for rainwater to filter through.

In the three years since this article there is little evidence of any reduction in the process of concreting over gardens, nor any inkling of acneed to reverse this process.

CLP 11/0/2019

Impartial

Is it Balmoral of me to sit here

As neutral as Switzerland during the World Wars

Accumulating wealth

Whilst the United Kingdom

Is asset stripped by Austerity

Subjecting my subjects

To increasing poverty?

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I would not like to Buckingham the trend

By intervening in such a way

Other than to maintain the status quo

I take guidance from my Privy Councillors

Whilst I sit on the throne

Trusting that they speak with honesty and truth

Although my Prime Minister is a proven liar

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Like all my subjects

I am subject to the Sandringham of Time

That runs through my hands

As I slowly lose my grip on Royalty

And The Anarchy returns once more to these Isles

That divide on a question of sovereignty

Not Blois this time, but Brussels

For which there is no clear Windsor

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n.b. Balmoral, Buckingham, Sandringham and Windsor are the best known properties of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II.

The Anarchy was a period of widespread breakdown of law and order in England from 1135 to 1153 when Matilda, daughter of the previous monarch was identified as the Queen of England, but Stephen of Blois felt, as a male relative, that he should have first dibs on the lands of Angleterre.

The country descended into chaos and it took 18 years for peace to return to this septic isle. The people saw that law and order were not respected by the rich and powerful as they plundered what they might, so following the principle that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, all hell broke loose as the Commoners strove to live as best they could, despite the vicious squabbling of the lords and ladies.

Let’s see how Brexit unfolds before we all get too twitchy, shall we?

n.n.b. Elizabeth Windsor (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) is only the 17th wealthiest aristocrat in the UK. She is “not as rich as you might think.”

CLP 22/09/2019