Deficient Individualism: How the Police Operate

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As an institute, the concept of the ‘modern’ police developed in Scotland in 1800, and spread throughout the British Isles. This model of policing now exists all over the world. During the Industrial Revolution (form around 1750 onwards), immense wealth was generated for the middle class which possessed the means of production. The middle class possessed the wealth and social status which granted it the economic, political and cultural power to put its ideas into practice (a further product of receiving a good education). The middle class designed and had built the machines which were placed into the buildings (i.e. ‘factories’) that it owned, and ran these establishments continuously over a 24hr period. The machines were operated by the peasantry whose cottage industries had been destroyed by the industrialisation process. The peasants headed en mass into the cities and towns to be employed in very bad conditions and long hours, as a means to prevent death from hunger and destitution. The middle class treated this ‘new’ working class in a despicable manner and paid them little in return for their long hours of dangerous work (this included the exploitation of young children). The middle class paid probably about 10% of the profit generated to the working class, and amassed the other 90% for themselves. This process of production and exploitation continued day in and day out, year after year. The middle class became overly abundant with their accumulated wealth, whilst the workers who made the profit sunk ever deeper into abject poverty, illness, injury and early death. As the workers started to agitate for better working conditions, and as certain elements of the working class took it upon themselves to ‘steal’ back the profit already stolen from them by the middle class, the middle class representatives in Parliament (the workers could not vote), started to heed calls for a body of government representatives at all levels of society, from he village to city and beyond. The Greek word the ‘city state’ and its authority is ‘Polis’, therefore the British government put forth the idea that the middle class would be protected from the working class by a government body empowered to ‘arrest’ and ‘prosecute’ with impunity. This is how the middle class British ‘invented’ the ‘police’. The police exist to protect the middle class interests in society (such as private property and wealth), and oppress and suppress the working class population so that it cannot a) band together and over-throw the middle class, or b) attain any type of independent political or cultural power (other than the ‘token’ representation granted by the middle class). The police are trained a priori to behave like a stern Victorian-type ‘father figure’ whose authority cannot be questioned by his underlings without the fear of arbitrary and/or violent reproach. The police are paid to reduce society to the status of single individuals ensnared in the all-powerful presence of the police. This represents the middle class view of the world, where ‘individuals’ are already empowered by wealth and status. This explains why the police employ two distinct methods for dealing with the general public. For a wealthy, land-owning middle class person, the police approach carefully and with respect (as such people have access to effective lawyers). In this scenario, the police effectively ‘negotiate’ with middle class people of interest, because such people represent the class that created the police to protect their own best class interests. This represents the police responding to ’empowered’ individualism. As the working class band together into ‘unions’ for self-defence and collective bargaining, the police refuse to acknowledge this ‘Socialist’ outlook. The police do not negotiate with working class people of interest, and have no interest in contacting union leaders. Instead, each working class person is reduced to the level of bourgeois individualism, but as each working class person does not possess wealth or property, the police interpret this individualism as ‘deficient’, and act accordingly. With every encounter, the historical dynamic of the 19th century is played-out yet again in the present. The potentially dangerous working class must be kept in its place by any number of legal or lawful sophistries, so as to prevent the middle class losing its wealth, power and property. When it is obvious that a police officer has broken the law he or she is paid to uphold – the State simply declares such a suspect ‘not guilty’. The suspect is then congratulated and promoted as a demonstration of who holds the power within bourgeois society. The working class does not want bourgeois individualism and is alienated by its concept. This is exactly why the police project this concept upon the working class as an intimidatory tactic. As many officers are recruited from working class backgrounds, these workers become individuals who are granted ‘limited’ access to the middle class world they would usually remain permanently excluded from. This is the reward they are granted for turning upon their own class.

If the Scottish Are Not British – They Can Pay Their Own Welfare Bill!

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George Galloway recently explained how Tony Blair’s policies contributed to the destruction of the Labour Party in Scotland (which used to be wall to wall red). This involved the pseudo-independence of ‘devolution’, and the rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which used to present itself as a leftwing freedom movement, premised upon the notion of ‘anti-colonialism’, but which in reality turned-out to be a form of Scottish ‘soft ‘ Toryism that recently ‘lost’ the Independence Referendum vote. All this is premised upon the idea that England invaded and subjugated Scotland, and that the Scottish people have a right to be free from the English imperialist yoke, but even a cursory observation of Scottish history reveals the ‘mythos’ of this position. The Tory nature of the SNP can be seen with the collapse of its vote in the recent UK General Election, and its adherents switching their political support to the Conservative Party in Scotland – a move that deprived Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party of an out-right General Election victory. The ironies of this movement are many. When Margaret Thatcher came to power (in 1979) in the UK – Scotland remained firmly ‘Labour’. Thatcher so hated the Scottish people, that whenever she initiated a Benefit cut or NHS reform, these extremely unpopular policies were initiated first in Scotland – causing wide-spread social damage and hardships throughout the Scottish working class populations.

In 2016, the UK voted to ‘leave’ the anti-Socialist European Union (EU). The rhetoric emanating from the Scottish Nationalists, however, was that the majority of the Scottish people had voted to ‘remain’ in the EU, and that this was the will of the Scottish people. This explains the Scottish Nationalists voting for the Scottish Tory Party – following the mistaken notion that the Tories will somehow deliver the absurd policy of allowing the ‘UK’ to leave the EU – whilst simultaneously allowing Scotland to ‘remain’! EU legislation supports predatory capitalism (very much in the US model of free market economics), and its binding legislation is designed to remove all barriers to the expansion of this despotic economic model. Of course, these ‘barriers’ are anything ‘Socialist’, such as Welfare Systems, and developed health systems free at the point of use (and paid for through taxation). The EU also demands the unbridled movement of armies of migratory workers that travel to the richest areas of the EU, colonising large areas and destroying local culture, jobs and society, driving-down wages and increasing friction between competing ethnic groups (manifest as increased levels of racism). These workers have no ‘Union’ rights, and are encouraged to ‘fight’ with the local workforce for jobs, housing, medical care, transport and education, etc. EU policy is anti-working class, and generates ‘toxic’ living conditions for all concerned. Workers should have Union rights and decent jobs in the countries of their origin, and not be ‘forced’ by the EU to ‘migrate’ for work. However, Scotland, as part of the UK, has not really felt the full impact of the EU migratory worker policy, simply because there is no exploitable economic base in Scotland. In other words, there are no incentives for armies of EU migratory workers to descend upon the Scottish towns and cities, and to destroy the local culture. This is why the Scots are currently suffering from an unrealistic and idealised view of the EU. Furthermore, as a distinct part of the UK, the Scots currently receive millions of pounds in EU grants and other financial incentives (which amounts to ‘free’ money) without having to pay the social price of EU membership.

When Tony Blair granted Scotland its ‘devolved’ status, he also exempted it from any and all Benefits cuts and NHS reforms that his New Labour brought into the UK. This has meant that Scotland has retained the ‘old’ British Welfare and NHS Systems, which includes Council Housing and completely ‘free’ education for its youth. This has remained the case to this day, with Scotland remaining exempt from the Tory and LibDem dismantling of the British Welfare State and privatisation of the NHS since 2010. However, an interesting question is who pays for this? The Scottish working population is far too small to finance its own Welfare bill through taxation, and so when the rest of the UK is having all vestiges of British Socialism ruthlessly ‘stripped’ from its culture, the Scottish Welfare bill is paid for essentially by the English working population. This is why the Scottish voters are stupid to back Toryism in Scotland and abandon the Labour Party – because if they keep acting in this manner (which is against their own best interests), surely it is only a matter of time before Scotland is impoverished following a complete withdrawal of ‘English’ tax revenue.

On Why the Scottish Celts Abandoned Labour

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English imperialism, that is the racialised ideology that lies at the core of Toryism, has made life a misery for the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, using rape, pillage, enslavement, theft and ethnic cleansing as the primary means for the English’ ruling classes to control the so-called ‘Celtic Fringe’. The Celtic peoples live in Cornwall (today forming part of south-west England), Wales, Ireland and Scotland (with some descendants of Cornish Celts living in Brittany, France). Once, these people comprised the entire indigenous population of the UK, prior to the invasion of the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, Danes, and Norman (Viking) French, all of which carved-out a distinctive ‘English’ identity that was separate and distinct from that of Celtic Britain. As a result, the Celts (and Picts in Scotland), were driven to the extremities of the British Isles, and their ancestral lands formerly located in central Britain, colonised by these ‘new’ and ‘incoming’ peoples. The ‘English’ attitude toward the Celts was one of racial distinction, exclusion and the assumption of cultural and linguistic inferiority. Indeed, this form of racism is the very defining aspect of contemporary Tory thinking about the peoples of the Celtic Fringe. Celts are treated with indifference and disinterest, coupled with notions of ‘untrustworthiness’ and ‘laziness’, etc. Given the historical reality of the English oppression toward the Celtic Fringe, why did a certain proportion of the Scottish population turn their backs on the Labour Party (the party that has always recognised the importance and significance of Celtic culture), and embrace Toryism (essentially the ‘rejection’ of Celtic culture)?

Cornwall, of course, is an impoverished rural area of the south-west UK, that is treated as a playground by the English middle classes, who run all the Local Councils and influence the continuous re-election of Tory MPs throughout the area. The ordinary Cornish Working Class live en mass upon dilapidated Council Estates (neglected for decades by successive governments), in an extremely impoverished set of circumstances which are artificially held in place by the middle classes that control the area. A report about three years ago, suggested that five year old Cornish children were going to school for the first time still wearing nappies, and unable to say their own names! This is what Toryism does to the Celtic people of Cornwall, who have had to also suffer the wide-ranging cuts to the NHS and Welfare State, to a degree not experienced by the other Celtic parts of the UK.  This is because Cornwall is currently considered part of England, and it has been primarily ‘England’ that has been the target for privatising of the NHS and the dismantling of the Welfare State. Scotland, by way of contrast, (and to a certain extent Wales), being considered at least in principle ‘distinct’ countries (through the terms associated with ‘devolution’), have not been subject to the sudden and rapid privatisation of the NHS and Education, or the dismantling of Welfare, Elderly Care and Social Housing, In fact, Scotland very much retains the British Welfare State as it existed in the UK prior to 2010, with its young people still enjoying free education, and its population in general subject to a comprehensive Welfare System. Bearing this in mind, it is obvious why Scottish people were not interested in supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to re-instate the NHS and Welfare State in ‘England’, as the Scottish people themselves have yet to experience the same-kind of shock as that experienced by the English or the Cornish Celts. It must also be remembered that the Scottish Welfare System is still funded from Westminster, out of the pockets of the British tax-payer, despite the Scots acting as if they are financially independent. The fact remains that without ‘English’ tax-payers, the Scots could not afford their own Welfare bill. It might have been considered a foregone conclusion by all those Scots that voted ‘Tory’ recently that it was in their best interests to vote Labour, as Jeremy Corbyn would have been more open to retaining the Scottish Welfare System, with no comment made, but as matters stand, the Tories believe that as England is the centre of the British Welfare State (rightly or wrongly), it is only a matter of time before the entire system collapses on the periphery, if it is abolished throughout England. In other words, the Scots keeping their Welfare State is merely a short-term compromise to eventually abolishing it altogether (as the Scottish population itself could not generate the finance through taxation to support it). In-short, Scotland needs English tax-payers to retain their Welfare System, and the English need Scottish votes (for Labour) to oust the Tories from Westminster. At the moment, only the English are keep their end of the bargain, but for how much longer? By rejecting Labour, the Scots are putting their own economic and cultural security at risk.

In 1948, the only part of the British empire that the Labour Party extended the NHS and Welfare State to, was Northern Ireland. Virtually over-night poverty was alleviated and the lives of ordinary people vastly improved (this put an end to a lot violence at the time). In fact, to this day, despite all the Welfare cuts on the British Mainland, no significant cuts have been made in Northern Ireland. This is because the British Tory government knows that poverty leads to violence (as everyone starts fighting for dwindling resources), and so has not applied the privatisation cuts to Northern Ireland. For most people living in Northern Ireland, a guaranteed ‘minimum’ of a reasonable standard of living is assured through the NHS and Welfare System still existent in that part of Britain. It is no wonder then, that the rightwing (White Supremacist) terror group known as the ‘Democratic Unionist Party’ (DUP) has been quick to climb into bed with the ‘English’ Tories – as they both share exactly the same intolerant (homophobic) and racist ideology (which in Northern Ireland is aimed primarily at indigenous Catholics not of English colonial descent). Ironically, the DUP is now in a political position whereby it can assist the Tories finish the job of privatising the NHS and dismantling the Welfare State in England, whilst the Northern Irish continue to enjoy all the benefits such a Socialist system brings, albeit still at the expense of the ‘English’ tax-payer!

 

Successful Corbyn Drives Political Rightwing into a Tight Corner!

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The misled Scottish people turn to the racist Tories to cement their sovereignty and their freedom, the racist Tories turn to the equally racist, homophobic and terroristic DUP to legitimise Theresa May’s electoral failure, and the bias BBC have just asked Jeremy Corbyn to resign – but remains absolutely ‘silent’ about the dangerous political lurch to the right by the British political establishment! This fascistic insanity maybe added to the general mainstream media (such as the radio channel LBC) claiming that if only Jeremy Corbyn was not the leader of the Labour Party, and a more moderate (i.e. ‘capitalist supporting’) Candidate was in his place, then Labour would have won an outright majority – completely ignoring the historical fact that the Labour Party had already (and unsuccessfully) tried this compromising approach with Ed Miliband in 2015! What is happening is that the middle class is flexing its political muscle – and has been doing so since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 – completely unafraid of the consequences of its own (often illegal or unlawful) behaviour. The USSR offered a tangible threat to the Western Bourgeoisie which nolonger exists, whilst a vicious, ruthless and relentless racist campaign against Communist China ensures that the Western Working Class imbues these anti-Chinese racist attitudes, and does not ideologically associate itself with the Chinese proletariat. In fact, so successful has this racially motivated campaign been that its attitudes have become associated with logic, and are equally pervasive as much on the political left as on the political right.  This lurch to the right can be easily discerned across Europe (with the EU’s anti-Socialist agenda), and the rise of Donald Trump in the US. It may well be safe to say that only Jeremy Corbyn now genuinely represents the Socialist position within mainstream politics, and that the British establish will try anything to get rid of him in anyway that it can. I think the Tory position amounts to ‘do not pay any attention to the man behind the curtain’! I think there is now a distinct possibility of race riots developing on the British streets, if the British people do not put a stop to this madness!

Pronouncing ‘Celt’ (Keltos) Correctly

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The ancient Greek term for a non-Greek was ‘Keltos’ – referring to what they considered to be ‘uncivilised’ tribes living across Europe (including the UK). In these tribes women were considered equal to men and often fought alongside men in the frontline of battle. In these tribes, women often rose to positions of leadership, such was the respect in which they were viewed. In modern English, the Greek ‘Keltos’ is written as ‘Celtic’ but is usually pronounced ‘Keltic’ by native Britons, and is used to refer to the tribes that comprised ancient British ancestry prior to the Roman invasion. In Scotland, one o these tribes was referred to as the ‘Picts’ by the Romans. These ‘Picts’ were so good at fighting that they prevented most of what is now known as Scotland being over-run by the Romans. The British Celtic Queen Boudica succeeded in uniting the Celtic tribes of Britain against Roman oppression and this mass of people to many great victories over the Roman Legions – until her final defeat in 61 CE. Tacitus – the Roman historian – recorded that the British Celtic dead were piled in heaps across the battlefield (probably somewhere in the West Midlands) – and that the Romans stopped counting the bodies when the number of 80,000 was reached.

Great Britain (GB) and the United Kingdom (UK) Explained

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The name ‘Great Britain’ (Latin: ‘Magnae Britanniae’) refers to a large geographical landmass when compared to a relatively small geographical landmass (Latin: ‘Minorem Brittanniam’), and does not historically refer to an over-inflated sense of political or cultural importance of the British people, although this connotation has often been applied since at least the Victorian era by some, to refer to British imperialism and the spread of British political and cultural influence throughout the world. This is a distortion of the term ‘great’, which within this context refers to a broad expanse of land, and which has no connection to the use of political power to dominate others. Those who reject the imperialist associations of the term ‘Great Britain’, tend to use the shorter name of ‘Britain’.  Ancient Greeks mention the earliest recorded names of ‘Albion’ and ‘Prettan’ (for the landmass that is now known as ‘Great Britain’) as far back as the 4th century BCE.  This is not surprising, as Pytheas of Massalia (350-285 BCE) is believed to have been the first Greek to have ‘discovered’ the island.

The name ‘Albion’, was used by Pytheas as a description of what is today known as the white cliffs of Dover.  Although the works of Pytheas are nolonger extant, its content lives on through numerous quotations contained in the works of other scholars, and it appears that Pytheas may have also referred to ‘Albion’ as ‘Prettan’ (or similar) and to the indigenous people as ‘Prettanic’.  This observation is given credence in the 1st century CE, as the Roman occupiers of this landmass referred to it as ‘Britannia’ (a Latin transliteration of ‘Prettan’), in reference to its inhabitants – the Celtic-speaking ‘Britons’ (also known as the ‘Brythonic’ and ‘Pict’). Whatever the case, a shift from the use of the Greek ‘Albion’ and ‘Prettan’ to the Roman ‘Britannia’ is confirmed in the work of the 2nd CE century Greek scientist named Claudius Ptolemy, who referred to the landmass as ‘Greater Britain’ and its neighbour to its west as ‘Lessor Britain’ (what is today the landmass of Ireland).  Later, the name ‘Lesser Britain’ would be used to refer to the area of France known as ‘Brittany’, a place eventually settled by Cornish Celts in the service of Rome (c. 5th and 6th centuries CE).  It is probable that Pytheas – who landed in Britain – may well have asked the indigenous people what they called their land, and the reply he received was ‘Pretani’ – a Celtic word that refers to a people that ‘paint’ (or ‘tattoo’ their bodies).  In Latin, this terms appears to have been also rendered in translation as ‘Picti’ or ‘Pict’, again referring to a ‘picture’ painted or tattooed onto the skin.  Politically, the term ‘Great Britain’ refers to the whole of England, Wales and Scotland, but does not include Northern Ireland.  However, ‘Great Britain’ does include the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides and the island groups of Orkney and Shetland, but does not include the self-governing islands of Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Whereas the term ‘Great Britain’ is an ancient reference to comparative geography and cultural practice, by way of contrast, the term ‘United Kingdom’ is far younger and entirely political in nature, and represents the spread of English political hegemony over the home nations.  Technically speaking, the full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and is often seen in its shortened form of ‘UK’. Between the early Middle Ages and the 11th Century Norman Conquest of England, Wales was considered an independent nation.  However, its independence was slowly eroded by the Norman (and later) English military incursions, that saw Wales invaded and its sovereignty ended. In 1535 and 1542, the Welsh monarch of England – King Henry VIII (i.e. ‘Henry Tudor’) – passed the Laws in Wales Acts (sometimes referred to as ‘Acts of Union’) which saw ‘English’ law extended to include the entirety of the geographical area of Wales.  In 1603, the formerly independent kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united under King James VI (King of Scotland) who had also inherited the crowns of England (which included Wales) and Ireland, before moving his royal court from Edinburgh to London (where he ruled as ‘King James I’ of England).  This is often referred to as a ‘personal union’ (through the 1603 ‘Union of Crowns’) established through the rule of an absolute monarch, but which is not necessarily expressed in formal law.  However, it was not until 1707 that the parliaments of Scotland and England passed the Acts of Union that ratified the 1706 Treaty of Union.  This formally united Scotland and England into a single political (legal) entity referred to as the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’.  Ireland had in fact been in a ‘personal union’ with England since the Irish Parliament had passed the Crown of Ireland Act (1542), recognising English King Henry VIII as King of Ireland.  In 1800, the parliaments of Britain and Ireland both passed the ‘Act for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland’ and established in law the union of Ireland and Britain.  This saw the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that lasted until 1922.  In 1922, around 80% of Ireland seceded from the union with Britain and away from British rule (becoming the ‘Irish Free State’), with the remaining 20% becoming known as ‘Northern Ireland’ (which remained under British rule). This created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  As the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the British Overseas Territories (BOT), (or what is left of the British Empire), are dependencies of the Crown, they are not considered part of the UK.

Camelford Ch’an Week Retreat (North Cornwall)

The author & Daughter - Mei-An

The author & Daughter – Mei-A

Under my guidance (as the current Custodian) of the Richard Hunn Association for Ch’an Study (RHACS), which is headquartered in London, UK, many of our Ch’an Retreats have tended to favour the Cornish countryside.  This type of terrain – with its fresh air and unusually good day light – often serves as a tonic to those brave few who manage to find out about our retreats, and then manage to convince us that they are legitimate seekers of the Dao.  Many show an ‘egotistical’ interest, but if this is allowed into an intensive Ch’an Week, the effect of the intensive concentration will be destroyed to the detriment of everyone, and the benefit of none.  The sincerity of those who attend is touching in the extreme.  One young man – a Christian priest – said that he wanted to get beyond just talking to god, as god tended to listened to his words, and laughed at his pain!  This problem was solved by another participant – who hadn’t spoken a word all Retreat, who said that he thought these words were amongst some of the best lyrics Robbie Williams had ever produced!  At the time, I did not know what this referred to, but the ‘gong an’ nature of the exchange ‘freed’ the blocked energy and strengthened the inner potential in the good person in question.  As a consequence, this practitioner ‘punched through’ his limited notion of ‘god’, (which turned-out to be his ‘ego’ talking), and as a consequence, emerged into a whole new light of awareness.  For him, the god he used to worship was a mimicry of what he now found.  It may seem surprising, but Ch’an Week Retreats – particularly in the West – attract their fair share of Christians, and why not, we all seek together without discrimination.

Mei-An seeking herself in a Wardrobe

Mei-An seeking herself in a Wardrobe

Numbers vary dramatically, but as we are not a commercial enterprise, this is of no interest.  There is always a strong inner core that keeps the teachings of Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) alive in the UK.  We have been asked to Hong Kong and China in recent years, and these are invitations we intend to honour in the near future.  Our last Ch’an Week Retreat (in the Sai Kung area) of Hong Kong, attracted over 50 participants in 1999, and we had to abandon the building and sit in the beautiful countryside.  Richard Hunn (1949-2006) was still alive at that time, and despite being in Japan – was not able to attend on the dates we had arranged – but we did see him shortly afterwards.  He sent some of his Japanese students to sit with us, and of course, he spiritually authorised the entire event.  This was the first time that myself, and other members of the British Chinese, and Hong Kong communities worked together in the name of RHACS.  Part of the Ch’an practice at that time was a visit to the Po Lin Ch’an Temple (寶蓮禪寺 – Bao Lian Ch’an Si), situated on Lantau Island.  This involved climbing the hundreds of steps that led up to the Great Buddha situated on the Divine-Sky Altar (天壇大佛 – Tian Tab Da Fu).  The superstition is that if these steps are climbed, bad karma is dissolved.  This view maybe juxtaposed with the observation that the sheer strain of climbing so many steps without a place to sit, or any type of refreshment, could well finish-off the elderly, infirm, or the disabled, etc.  Young children also find this pilgrimage difficult, with older children and youths seeing no point in doing it at all.  In this regard – all viewpoints are equally valid.  Perhaps a lift would be just as ‘divine’ if the mind was right?  Whatever the case, this Ch’an experience was unusual as it involved two family clans, (the Chan and Yau) visiting Hong Kong (the place of their origination before migrating to live in the UK), who mustered, through family ties, probably around 30 people to attend.  This has never happened again, as the social dynamics in the UK, at least outside the Chinese community, is premised upon individualism and not Confucian family ties.

Why Cornwall?  Although it is a beautiful county situated on the southwest tip of the UK, it is socially and economically deprived, whilst being run by a rightwing local council.  A Cornish news report last , stated that many local five year olds when first going to school in the area, could not even say their names, (compare this with my youngest daughter who is now two and a half years old, and can already say her name and hold basic conversations).  The deprivation for the local people is palpable.  Due to the lack of money amongst local people, much of the property is bought-up and rented-out by people from outside Cornwall – thus depriving the local population of the benefit of the value of Cornish property – the profit of which is leaving the county.  Some time ago, the previous Labour government brought-in a free bus pass for the elderly and the disabled.  This pass allows free travel over England and Wales on all buses for all elderly and disabled people.  Scotland is excluded from this scheme as its government has refused to dismantle its socialist system of caring for al its citizens.  In England and Wales, the bus pass was an attempt at ‘gesture politics’ whereby ruthless and vicious cuts is social care and welfare provision were camouflaged by introducing a free pass.  Whilst care home and medical services for the elderly and disabled were cut, the then Labour government sweetened the pill, so to speak, by saying it was all OK as now the victims of the cuts could now ride on a bus for free.  Well, as matters transpired, rightwing (conservative) local authorities have been looking for ways out of honouring this scheme at the county level.  Cornwall County Council – as a staunch supporter of the current far-rightwing Conservative and Liberal Democratic Parties (i.e. the ‘ConDem Coalition), realised that they could penalise all those using these passes on Cornish buses by introducing an administration fee (approximately a third of the actual fare).  Although an illegal act, it has since been copied by local councils elsewhere in the UK.  These local councils understand that for their illegal policy to be stopped, the elderly or disabled bus travellers that use the pass would have to take the councils  to court – a costly process that could drag on for years.  Obviously this is unlikely to happen, as bus users generally do not possess the personal wealth to questions these matters legally.  Therefore the Cornish County Council’s policy toward the most vulnerable members of its society is a despicable example of class oppression in operation.  This policy of deliberate discrimination extends to making the disabled ‘pay’ for parking spots that their Blue Badge exempts them from having to do – for the same reasons cited above.

Another difficult equally perplexing issue is that of racism in Cornwall.  It is not an attitude that everyone holds – far from it – but the extent of its odious presence can be seen in the fact that the far-right movements of the British National Party (BNP) and more recently the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), are very popular.  At either local or national election times, many people in Cornwall (and in the adjacent county of Devon), unashamedly display campaign posters that are openly racist slogans.  As many members of the local council, judiciary, and law enforcement are either full members of these far-right movements, or secretly agree with their racist policies, no action is taken against this dangerous display of obvious fascism.  This idea that the Cornish constitute a separate and ‘mythical’ race was compounded earlier this year when the United Nations formally acknowledged that Cornish people constitute a distinct ethnicity.  This is a scientific absurdity that I have exposed in previous writings, that only encourages racism at a local level.  For our multicultural Ch’an gatherings we have experienced this racism a number of times – particularly from landlords whom we have rented property from, and from certain local shop-owners, as well as some people in the street.  It is the experience of raw race-hate.  I tell our students that is good for our training as it brings human ignorance out of the murky shadows and into broad daylight.  How can we fight ignorance if our lives are sanitised to the point of bland politeness?  Racism is ‘wrong’, of course, but the empty mind ground is correct.  Cornwall (and many of its people) is beautiful and poignant.  None of us can help the socio-economic conditions that have created us – these why we must forgive everything as we encounter it (even racism) – but we can use our combined intelligence to dig our way out of our own inherent predicaments.  Understanding and forgiving is not condoning or encouraging destructive ignorance, but is in fact a means to transcend it.  Let’s do it together!

 

 

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