richard pierce

richard pierce

27 October 2018

#PeoplesVote Letter to my MP Daniel Poulter

I sent this to my MP Daniel Poulter by email on 22nd October. I have not yet received a response, perhaps not unsurprisingly. We are being cheated on all fronts.

"Dear Dan,

Unfortunately, I can’t make your Stradbroke surgery as I’ll be in London working. However, I wanted to outline here why I would have come to see you, and it concerns Brexit.

I have to say that I disagree entirely with you regarding Brexit. The referendum was only ever intended to be advisory; that’s what the legislation for the referendum stated, and it was made clear in Parliament that advisory was entirely the nature of the referendum. It is a blatant lie to say it was anything but advisory. Similarly, the catchphrase “the will of the people” which is being trotted out by Brexiters of any colur is entirely infactual, considering the disenfranchisement of British people living abroad, and, more significantly, not enfranchising the generation which would be most affected by Brexit, namely those aged between 16 and 18 when the referendum took place. This all leaves to one side the fact that Vote Leave have been shown to have broken the law, something which the Metropolitan Police seem desperate not to investigate because of “political sensitivities,” which I read as political interference and pressure.

Add to this the fact that the current government has entirely mismanaged negotiations with the EU, has brought no sensible solutions to the impasse about the island of Ireland, and doesn’t even seem to have started discussing the issue of Gibraltar. Furthermore, it is obvious that the UK’s standing in international politics has been severely weakened by the government’s negotiating tactics and servitude to populism and an illegal corrupted referendum. The reality is that the UK has become totally and utterly undermined by this Brexit process, financially politically and morally, and that the best move forwards would be to withdraw Article 50, and to try to reform any issues the UK has with the EU from within not from without.

The People’s Vote March on Saturday made it very clear that the will of the people is in fact to have a referendum on any final deal, including an option to remain. This is not a second referendum, this is a public vote on the terms of a deal, not on a question for which no details were clearly given at the time of the 2016 advisory referendum.

I would urge you, seriously, to consider your position as my constituency MP, and to move away from backing any kind of Brexit to a position which at least supports the rights of your consitituents to have a final say on Brexit, and which, ultimately would uphold the sovereignty of Parliament, not undermine it like the current Prime Minister and her government are attempting to.

I very much look forward to receiving a non-formulaic response from you which acknowledges the right of all the people in the UK and all British people abroad to a democratic process.

Yours sincerely ..."

Let's see what response comes, if any at all. In fact, if none is here soon, I may just have to start writing at least one email and hardcopy letter a day to Dr Dan.

6 October 2018

Of Gender and of Soul

I've just finished reading I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, and it's raised some interesting questions for me, or realisations, which I just need to write about. And if I, in this, don't adhere to the current uses of the words gender, sex, etc, please forgive me.

My brief review, just penned and uploaded via my smartphone:

Weird, wonderful, confusing, illuminating. This is as much a novel as a reading list, as much a transcribed piece of performance art as an art catalogue, and as much a cry from the heart as a call to arms. The message throughout is that patriarchalism is not dead, and that the striving for equality will never end and never be easy. Does love transcend gender politics or subvert them, or does it demand the surrender of the self by one party or the other but never both? Read and ponder.

But there's more, much more, to it than that, to where it's led my mind. It confirms to me what I've thought for a long time, which is that it's not the nature of our physicality (or our gender, if you prefer) which determines what we feel and how we react to the actions of others, but our soul, or, if you prefer a somewhat less spiritual word, our essence, or to become even more secular, our thoughts. I suppose people might say I'm writing about personality traits rather than gender or soul, but I think this goes deeper than that.

Thus, when people encounter us physically, they immediately think of us as a man or a woman, categorise us into the expectations that come with that perception, and expect us to act according to those expectations. Men = hard, women = soft I suppose is the crassest and simplest of ways to characterise those expectations. And that's how the patriarchy expects us to behave and be categorised, with no exceptions, and that's how people have been educated for far too long, and that's why evil people still rule this planet, and why most of us, of whatever faith or none, laugh at the expression the meek shall inherit the earth.

Whenever I describe myself as a zeta male, it's because I haven't been able to come up with some other rational description, and because, I guess, this again fits in with that patriarchal compartmentalising of people according to their gender. And this is where I'm coming back to I Love Dick, the main focus of which is how women have been silenced in the worlds of art and literature. I don't think it's physical women who have been silenced, not physical men who have had the upper hand. I think it's female souls which have been silenced, and male souls which have shouted the loudest.

To get personal, I am avowedly heterosexual, but this zeta maleness I keep talk about is actually the fact that I have a female soul, a soul which would rather fight using words rather than swords, a soul which would rather love and be loved than hate and be hated, which would rather be compassionate than ruthless. And those with male souls, and whatever bodies those souls might inhabit, are those who seek to oppress those of us who are peace makers, love makers, natural empathisers and consolers, unilateral disarmamentists. This is not to say we female souls can't be competitive, but it's a competitiveness which doesn't have deadly edges. This is not to say that we female souls can't be mean and horrible and thoughtless, because all humans can be like that.

But this is to say that having a female soul goes deeper than personality, deeper than what we've got between our legs, means more than the purely physical in a world increasingly guided by the physical, by the need for instant gratification, by the greed of the rich male souls that rule and have ever ruled, the male souls which unendingly and unerringly damage and torture the female soul from run-of-the-mill households to world politics. Just witness Trump and Kavanaugh, May and Johnson, Brexit and MAGA, and endless incidents of domestic violence, physical and emotional.

The female voice is still crying out to be heard, and it is indeed a cry from the heart as well as a call to arms.

25 August 2018

First-World Slavery - Of Human Bondage

Does anyone remember the days before Sunday opening? Or the time when nothing happened on Sundays? Or when certain large supermarkets were closed even on Monday mornings? Or those days when we couldn't get hold of our service providers at all at the weekend? No? I'm showing my age, obviously.

We have become so used to having access to everything all the time that we don't spend any time thinking about the effects of our constant needs on the people who have to traipse to work on those days when we have lie-ins, when we're at leisure, when we're the ones taking a deep breath because our week is over, because we're at rest. We take it for granted that we can call insurers, on-line vendors, can quickly jump into the car to make a forgotten shop, have everything available to us all the time. It's an insidious thing, this, and although I might call it a First World problem, it goes deeper than that.

We like to think of ourselves as activists, as folk who strive to make the lot better of those in the Third World who have to slave in sweatshops, pride ourselves on our ethically-correct way of living, but we forget that what we do at home actually just makes everything worse for those we think we're protecting.

There are employers, many employers, in the UK, who stay open on Saturdays and Sundays, who don't announce the shifts for their workers any more than five weeks ahead, who make their people work on bank holidays and Sundays, and I'm not talking about the wonderful emergency services on whom we all rely. How often have you phoned in a complaint to a service provider on a Sunday or bank holiday without even thinking about it? We all go on about modern slavery in the context of poor people being imprisoned in grubby cellars and rooms, and not allowed to see the light of day, and forced to do unspeakable things behind the walls of silence, but have we ever thought about those people in air-conditioned offices, on a Sunday afternoon, sitting there fielding phone calls from irate enjoyers of leisure just so that we don't have to arrange our working days to have ten minutes of free time to make our arrangements?

It's time we looked ourselves in the eye and realised that what we're doing is allowing rich people to get even richer by employing people on minimum wage or zero hour contracts, or just shit money, to pander to our affectations, to pander to those of us who have regular working weeks. It's time we called for call centres to operate only 9 to 5 on week days and to be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. It's time we demanded that supermarkets and DIY chains close on those days, too. Because we're allowing people's lives to be put into disarray, to be messed up, to be led by opportunistic forces that are anything but forces for the good. And, in the same vein, we should fight for night shifts to be made illegal, for working people to be allowed as much leisure time as those who think they work for a living but just sit behind desks pushing pens and crunching spreadsheets.

Just think about how many more people would need to be employed on proper contracts, not zero-hour contracts if we did do this. Just think about how many people's lives would better, how many people might actually be able to enjoy normal lives, fulfilled love lives, decent hours of sleep, and be able to plan their lives and spend time with their children if we did this. And imagine how this might cascade on to the Third World sweatshops and call centres. The world might even become a better place.

25 May 2018

27 - Sculptures

The now world, the new world,
Assigns a commercial possibility
To each anniversary,
And not the precious metals of love
Forged in the flames of time.

The wood creaks under the passing of it.

The world now has faded them
In the wind beneath the fluttering banners.
The material is irrelevant,
The untouchable the real language
Of staying together.
They are still bright in my eyes.

The wood has been bleached under our feet.

Our analogue prints,
Our digital legacies,
They will all be outdated
When we’re dancing in the clouds.
Our days are history as we live them,
Before we understand them.

Calendar pages torn away too late to be real time.

I listen to your sleep every night
When my eyes won’t close.
Your breaths mark my destiny.
Without them I am too alone.
They slip through my fingers,
Those untouched hours.

Sometimes, emptiness is best.

A life-time of markers.
We forget too many of them
In the bustle of new ones.
Here, on the sofa, our hands
Meet in the middle,
A centre of gravity
For our many worlds.

For M
R, 25/05/2018

19 May 2018

today we celebrate

today we celebrate
an accident of birth
the discrimination of wealth
a country that feeds its royals but not its needy
a distorted image of love with an agenda
the gulf between the great unwashed
and those who can’t afford to wash.

today we celebrate
how hard work goes unrewarded
and laziness reaps high office
the fairy tales of ancient history
dragged along the long walk of hell
the deception of the masses by the massed media
how crowns and coronets are worth more
than dignity, integrity and honesty.

today we celebrate
centuries of unearned privilege
the parading of richness
to keep the poor at bay
behind the barriers that should be barricades
letting them smell horse shit and glamour
but only ever letting them get clear up
after those in a different caste.

today we celebrate
a divided society.

R, 19/05/2018