Friday, 24 June 2016

Time to cull old people...

Good evening

on what is a historic moment in history,

a truly momentous moment

and I want to take this opportunity to discuss something

which up until now has been swept under the carpet:

old people.

Quite frankly there are too many of them.

I'm going to say it simply

and you can quote me on this:

there are too many old people in Britain today;

we can't cope

they're putting pressure on our public services,

they're forcing wages down through doing low-paid jobs

and volunteering all over the place;

they're hanging about on street corners

talking to each other in their own odd ways

they go to their own special places

segregating themselves off from the rest of us

failing to integrate.

But the real matter

and let's have a grown-up conversation here

is the fact that we can't cope.

There is a finite number of people we can handle

in these islands

and if you look at the statistics

you can see the way that old people go on and on living

these days

means that the population is going up and up and up.

This puts a massive pressure on society as a whole

and let's face it,

Westminster won't talk about it.

This is a failure of the political class.

Well, now we've got a chance to sort this out


without interference from Europe.

We can control old people ourselves.

We can do this is a sensible, grown-up, humane way.

I suggest that we need to talk about culling,

perhaps starting with ninety-year olds

and then consider whether the old age pension

is really something we can afford.

I suggest we can't

and the advantage there is that this may well

encourage some old people to die sooner.

Again, we could look at the pressure that old people

are putting on housing.

One way to deal with this is to think about special centres

or camps

where old people could be grouped together in huts.

All this is to be talked about in an open, mature way

but whatever happens,

today has given us this great opportunity

to talk about such things.

Thank you for listening

and good night.

"It's Corbyn's fault!!!!!!"

Media have been in big discussions 
as to which stick to beat Corbyn with: 
a) he didn't campaign hard enough for 'in'; 
b) he didn't go with 'many' Labour voters and go for 'out' 
c) either way: 'it's Corbyn's fault'. 
d) that clears that up.

A fascist party at this moment will....

A fascist party at this moment will do all it can to pretend that it is against 'elites', dangerous people behind the scenes who pull the strings whilst at the same time, ensuring that it has major financial players backing it. Then again, it will carry on saying that 'the other' made up of poor people are a threat. 'The other' should be identified as different and behave like swarms and floods. Then the fascist party should try to sew this together as one strong united project to make the country 'great' again, invoking past 'great' people, most of whom used to wage wars against others or indeed with the country's own people. The flag has to be waved a lot.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Poem: Safe as Houses

Don’t think you can take the migrants out of me.
Every time I hear you say all the wrongs that
migrants supposedly do,
you are saying it to the migrants in me,
people who travelled thousands of miles
so they could work in sweat shops, 
in boot and shoe factories, on market stalls, 
people who ran from danger, threats, hate,
bullets and bombs.

Maybe I look as if you could take the migrants
out of me,
my hands are soft, 
no one’s told me I’m not allowed to live here
though someone once told me I’m not 
which made me wonder: if I’m not indigenous, 
are my children indigenous?
Would their children be indigenous?
When does a person become indigenous?
How long does it take to be indigenous?

Maybe I look as if you can spin a story at me
about how threatening and dangerous 
migrants are, 
as if neither I nor you would ever dream
of upping sticks and living somewhere else
and being, you know, 
a migrant,
as if neither I nor you might suddenly 
find ourselves in a wrong place at a wrong time
carrying the wrong passport, 
with a face that doesn’t fit, 
and needing to get out, move, find a safe place
because, what is it, only mad, bad and sad people
do that sort of thing
and neither me or you are mad, bad or sad 
don’t think you can take the migrants out of me;
the migrants in me tell me about 
criss-crossing  Europe
criss-crossing the Atlantic 
they warn me, 
they remind me of
long, long hours at work benches,
they remind me of relatives, 
who at one moment, were as safe as houses, 
and the next had no houses to be safe in
who fled armies, officials, police, 
all acting legally on behalf of their governments,
relatives who found themselves 
sitting ducks
waiting to be snaffled, transported, 
and disappeared forever,
and of course you don’t want anything 
like that to happen to anyone
even though our country
acting in our name
has helped in the business of turning
millions out of their houses
people so desperate 
as to climb into rubber dinghies 

as if they were as safe as houses.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Writing at the Expected Level

If you can write and make sense
remember,  it's not enough
If you can write and make people laugh
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people cry
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people desperate to know what happens next,
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people feel good,
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people think and wonder,
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people want to be where you went,
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people want to be some of the people
you've written about
remember, it's not enough
If you can write and make people want to read more and more and more
remember, it's not enough
if you can write something
that no one is particularly interested in,
no one is desperate to read more and more,
no one laughed or cried or wanted to be where you went
or wanted to know what happened next,
no one wondered about what you had written,
you included commas, semi-colons, colons,
expanded noun phrases, fronted adverbials, and
embedded relative clauses
over and over and over again
that's enough.

Us and the Other - all over again.

They keep saying there are two different things:
'working class' and 'immigrant' 
They keep saying they're separate, 
as if the 'working class' has no 'immigrants' within it, 
as if there are no  'immigrants' who are 'working class'. 
It's just a remake of that old, old thing of 'us' and the 'other'.

The moment that's done, 
then all the stuff about 'I want my country back'' falls into place.
We never had it!
It belonged and still belongs to whopping great landowners 
and the billionaire owners of capital assets. 
'We' don't own it,
so blaming immigrants doesn't give it 'back' to 'us'.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Poetry workshop 3 - preschoolers, reception, Yr 1

1. Share and enjoy a picture book.
2. Where there's a picture which is intriguing, puzzling, or curious in some way - go back to it.
3. Talk about it in ways that encourage the children to ask questions about it, e.g. saying things like 'I wonder why...' or 'I don't know why...' 'I wonder what he/she is doing there...'
4. Suggest that one question we can ask is what is the person or main thing in the question thinking and saying?
5. Suggest that everyone can think up something to ask that person or something that that person is thinking and saying and you are going to collect them up and write them up in front of everyone on a big piece of paper.
6. Suggest that at regular intervals you can all together say a 'chorus'. Something along the lines: 'I'm the mouse, weeee wee wee' (from the Gruffalo, say).
7. So, now you are making a poem made up of words, phrases and one-liners from the children 'interrupted' at regular intervals with a chorus. Try very hard to not change what a child says, so that the children can see that it's possible to write down what a child actually says.
8. Get everyone to join in getting reminders from what you're scribing and learning the poem. Make it into an enjoyable chant.
9. Various break-out sessions possible - drawing, making up your own, finding another page in a book  etc etc. It can turn into a performance for parents at the end of the day, an assembly for the rest of the school, perhaps with a powerpoint of the picture, and/or make up some music to go with it and/or some movement.
10. One page that invites this kind of work is the very last page 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' where the bear is heading off into the distance and we don't know what he or she or it is thinking! The chorus could be something very simple like 'I'm a bear, I'm a bear' or something more fun, like 'splash  splish'  for the sound of his feet in the waves...
11. Once you've done this the once,  the children will remember the shape you've made and they can make up other choruses, do it in pairs, scribe for each other etc etc.