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Social and Financial Inequality in London and the World
All lives matter
This last week it has been revealed that the London city Walkie Talkie building has been sold for a record breaking £1.3 billion. A staggering 167% increase on development costs. Last month the callous actions of a public council and management organisation resulted in 80 human beings losing there chance to exist. The unspeakably shameful Grenfell Tower tragedy was a consequence of those with the power to make decisions preferring a cheaper combustible cladding to its fireproof equivalent. This saved £293,000. The Metropolitan Police have stated this week “there are reasonable grounds to suspect that each organisation may have committed the offence of corporate manslaughter.” It can't just be me that stares in disbelief at these news stories. How can this deplorable disparity happen in the same city, in the same summer?
When the ashes in the West London breeze settle they may well be swept away, or under a rug, but such preventable disasters should not. It is not something to be covered up as the towers black scorched skeleton will begin to be in the next three weeks. The families and friends of those remaining are not a faceless conglomerate, these are people and deserve to be treated as such. A few heads on the block by a complicated drawn out politically influenced criminal court case will not suffice - this week we have seen that there will be three separate trials prosecuting six men from positions of authority over the Hillsborough catastrophe in 1989. Not again. It is something that has happened in front of our eyes that should spark a fire inside the chest of every person touched by it. 80 lives. Gone. Stop and think. All lives matter.
We are all aware of stark incompetence in all levels of government. And in turn the opposite, we know and we appreciate the structures that do work - think of the amazing police response to the London Bridge attacks and the many more we never hear about. All the normal human beings that fight for the safety and security of our society. But it does not excuse or give even the partial chance to weaken the pressure that must be applied when we notice part of our collective body is badly bleeding. Across the spectrum of life you have the brave, the thoughtful, the selfless and you have the selfish, the greedy and the moronic. A spade must be called a spade. So when instances highlighting such alarming inequality, injustice, immorality and ineptness stare you in the face. Again and again. It becomes apparent that these problems are due to systemic failures and coherent political dialogue needs to treat them as such. Ability and opportunity equate to responsibility and perhaps because I have spent most of my adult life abroad, head stuck in the sand so to speak, I am of the opinion that as we are not in an oppressive totalitarian state but a parliamentary democracy power is ultimately with the people. So it must be exercised. Look at Brexit, a can of worms for debate no doubt, but people were angry enough that they forced a referendum and got a vote to change the situation. Notice should be taken and lessons learnt. A vast quantity of lies and false promises swayed the opinions of many - critical assessment being a tool just as essential as an iphone in the 21st century. But it showed people power counts. I do not have the knowledge to tell people what is the right thing to do in this circumstance, just the anger to question what clearly is not right.
Poor political leaders or strong public representatives
On the bigger picture poor political leaders are standing where we should have strong public representatives. Somehow Donald Trump is US President, it still baffles me how that happened - and this week must be his worst yet. Rejection of the healthcare reform bill, chief of staff resigning, disgusting public attacks on his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, vile Scaramucci appointed communications director, transgender troops, the Boy Scouts speech and even the immense disrespect he showed to a 97 year old WWII vet. But nobody needs to be told about Trump anymore. Bernie Sanders however should get print as much as possible. The whole planet would immediately feel more comfortable on climate change. The United States, never shy of sticking their nose into others affairs, would go from a negative, stubborn, obstacle to a positive, powerful asset - as is shown in a recent Sanders interview with ex Vice President Al Gore (the man behind The Inconvenient Truth and Inconvenient Sequel films).
At home I like Jeremy Corbyn. If you can get past many media outlets portrayal of him. Less rose tinted spectacles more translucent prism lensed - as proven by the London School of Economics study. It is clear to see he is a man in politics for the right reasons, the people. He is a public representative not a savy demagogic politician - like Spacey in House of Cards - playing the game and avoiding questions whenever the answer might harm the reception of it. A lot has been said for and against his socialism. It was clearly one of the elements that catalysed the youth to turn out in numbers to support him in the recent general election. And as he increased Labours vote share more than any other leader since 1945 it proves to be popular. But one after another people scoff at the idea. One article describing why Corbyn is not a real socialist outlines his “piece meal social reforms,” somewhere between capitalism and socialism, as if he were to propose an end to capitalist society as we know it - it was only in May at results to the local government elections that nobody gave labour a hope in hell! Two years ago even his own party did not support him!! Another piece refers to East and West Germany, North Korea and Veneuzela. Subsequently to claims that socialism fails every time. Even a preemptive retort to many who would say true socialism hasn’t been tried. “It has been tried repeatedly. Its aims are never achieved because it is a failed ideology.” Really? The ideology is people working together for the benefit of everyone. How can that be failed? Boiling a term so broad down to a single definition and then barating those who use it outside of the narrow tracks is just ridiculous. It is like looking at this article and saying - what are you on about one instance is a grave error by a public council and one is a massive multinational conglomerate buying real estate for there property portfolio. The money is unrelated and in totally different public spheres. - Yes...it's not that I didn't notice. Be that as it may I would rather boil issues down to the fundamental flaw in the system. Just like Corbyn. Whether he refers to Shankly - “the socialism I believe in, is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards” - or Clough - “I think socialism comes from the heart” these football managers are not 19th century economists. But they are still right. Those being negative to the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn you stick to the definitions if you like, I will stick to the basics of human morality.
Its all about the money
These people would actually change the world and hopefully bring about an era of politics that the mainstream media would not be able to subvert and that corporations would not be able to pump billions into in order to smear the truth. Leaders of this ilk could represent us properly if the public for once has the intelligence, fortitude and bravery to make themselves heard. Why not? Again the negative will say it has been tried before, look at history it will never work. But isn’t the idea to learn from history? How many times a day do you think about money? Imagine the time you could spend enjoying the beauty of the world if you didn’t.
Not that we will have an end to conflict, problems, issues. I am no idealistic believer in a utopia where all is glorious and we all get along. Conflict is natural to the human condition and almost necessary for existence and progression. But the idea is progression. Not going backwards or stagnating where those in the shallow end of the toxic pool die before being able to swim. Everyone has seen the statistics, the richest eight people in the world have the same amount of money as the bottom 50%. Half of the world's population. Worth repeating. That is not progression.
Financial inequality and the strong feelings that accompany those struck by its grievances have been shaping the popular landscape for as long as memory serves. In a recent four part series on HBO aptly named The Defiant Ones a clip is played of a young Tupac Shakur speaking in a recording studio to a camera. In a not so distant echo of sentiments the young rapper articulates with typical confrontational emotion the divide prevalent in society “can you imagine someone having 32 million dollars...32...32 million dollars and this person has nothing, and you can sleep…” A further point of the world conditioning you to look after your own interests first in order to be successful like Trump made me laugh rather than do the alternative. Bringing it back to that man. There could not be a more distinct abhorrent effect of too much money in greedy hands - enough to influence an entire political party of a superpower and subsequently there sitting leader into ignoring scientific fact and measures to prevent the demise of the planet we all live on. That is akin to the Walkie Talkie profits being used to install the cheaper cladding on a house we all live in.