richard pierce

richard pierce

25 July 2019

Singing against racism

Traitors (Mix A)

We came as strangers, no rights, no rewards.
We held up this country, straight after the wars.

Chorus
The media deplore us, lies and hate haunt us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.
The media deplore us, racism taunts us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.

Death threats on white paper, murder in the streets.
Enemies of the people, making Britain great.

Chorus
The media deplore us, lies and hate haunt us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.
The media deplore us, no-dealers taunt us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.

Is this still our haven, a place for those in need?
Or are we a country broken, driven by hate and greed?

Chorus
The media deplore us, lies and hate haunt us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.
The media deplore us, racism taunts us.
We are traitors, we are traitors to the pure.

We came as strangers, no rights, no rewards.

Written by Florance & Pierce, 2019. Buy it HERE

In the second decade of the 21st century, the Developed World is led by a racist American President and a racist UK Prime Minister. What's really concerning is not that these men are racists and spread lies every time they open their mouths, but what their being in office actually says about the times we live in, and about the state of the world right now, where even the Labour Party is allowing the racist agenda to proceed without opposition.

Marina Florance and I wanted to write a song about the dangerous state of British politics, about the soundbites which encourage xenophobia and racist hate crime, about the very real hatred that those in power have for the poor and the foreign. We wanted to talk about how the UK was built on the labour of immigrants after World War II and in the 1950s, because we ourselves are of immigrant stock, and because too many people are being hurt, mentally and physically, by the continuing racism in this country. And it mustn't go on.



21 May 2019

Single-Issue Politics - Your Vote In EU Elections Is Vital

I would like to say that we're living in heady days, but the exact opposite is true - we are living in frightening days, when the political apparatus is broken, where the UK has not passed any significant legislation for almost three years, where the two major parties are intent on destroying the economy of this country, and, with it, the prospect of implementing any measures to achieve even only a modicum of social justice.

Let's be absolutely clear what we're talking about here, and not just for the European Elections, but in the whole remain vs brexit debate - it's racism and white supremacy, dictatorship, and oppression. We are not just in an ideological battle, but in a very real battle to preserve democracy. And if we lose, we will forever (and I don't say that lightly) be shackled by a right-wing dictatorship.

Unfortunately, the Labour and Conservative parties alike are normalising the extreme right-wing by supporting the message that the UK would be better off outside the EU, that immigration is a bad thing, that freedom of movement is bad for the people of this country, that white people are better than ethnic minorities. The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage (public-school-educated ex-stockbroker living on £450k/y given to him by Arron Banks, himself under police investigation, just to remind you), is said to be leading the polls for the EU elections exactly because the main parties are not arguing the case for immigration, free movement, multiculturalism, for a modern Britain that understands and realises that the killing days of the Empire are long gone, and gone for good, and gone for the better of humankind.

Claiming, as Corbyn likes to, that there are more issues to be dealt with in British politics at this time is at best disingenuous, and at worst a lie. If the UK leaves the EU, there will be no funding for Corbyn's admirable social justice policies, nor any funding to keep those already below the poverty line from dying (yes, dying). The refusal, whether that be from cowardice or self-interest of isolationist socialists, to refute right-wing claims that the 2008 crash was caused by Labour and that immigration is stealing UK jobs, is at the centre of all this. By not countering these right-wing arguments, especially as far as immigratuion is concerned, Labour has played straight into right-wing hands and managed to stoke up even more unjustified fears.

All this has brought us to this - single-issue politics, where it is more important to talk about the one single thing which will determine the future of this country rather than things which, although important, are right now peripheral, because they will be insignificant and unachievable if the UK leaves the EU. We'll be too busy fighting each other for food and medicines.

So, this Thursday, 23rd May 2019, how should you vote in the EU elections? There are many tactical voting web sites out there, and their message isn't all that clear, possibly because there are so many strands and variables to juggle. The basic message is this - if you already vote for a remain party, vote for that party (in England that's LibDem or Green, in Scotland SNP). Neither the Labour Party nor the Conservative party are remain parties. If you are a Labour or Conservative remainer, then you need to vote for a remain party (again, in England that's LibDem or Green, in Scotland SNP).

To beat the corrupt Brexit Party, you need to vote LibDem or Green. That's vital. It's also vital that you vote, that you persuade your family and friends and work colleagues to vote. We have to get the vote out. A miserable 30ish percent turnout won't cut it.

This is probably the most important election of this decade. Use your vote to defeat Brexit.

30 April 2019

A Letter to Labour on #Remain

Dear Labour Party NEC,

I am writing to you today about the meeting of Labour’s NEC to discuss Labour’s manifesto for the upcoming EU elections.

I was a member of the Labour Party until it became obvious that Labour was moving in the diametrically-opposed direction to the one we members wanted it to move in.

Labour has already become unelectable because it has not unequivocally backed Remain, because it has not committed to revoking Article 50. This is a betrayal of the working classes, and of the millions of young people, and millions of middle-aged and old people, who voted for Labour in 2017 because they believed Jeremy Corbyn's promise of a new politics, because they believed that Labour was a Remain party. The only way for Labour to become electable is for it to back Remain without question, without any weasly words which would allow Milne and Corbyn (and that order is chosen deliberately) to wriggle out of a minimum commitment to a People's Vote with Remain on the ballot paper.

The NEC must today back, as a minimum, a People's Vote on Brexit, a vote which MUST include Remain on the ballot paper. If it does not, then it is time for new leadership elections. And if that doesn't happen, then it is time for every Labour voter to support a Remain party, at the local elections, in the European elections, at the next General Election.

#RevokeArticle50 #remain

Yours,

Richard Pierce-Saunderson (aged 58)

27 April 2019

Without Prejudice - Vote Wisely, Vote Stradbroke Seven

We live in an age where lies and corruption are the new normal. Liars and lawbreakers are not brought to justice, and media outlets redistribute their lies as truth. This is called normalising, and history teaches us that this can only end badly. It is no exaggeration to say that we are entering another age of fascism, both on the right and left of politics.

I have never understood the pursuit of power for its own sake, have never understood why people would want to have power if they cannot and will not and never intend to use it to make life better for anyone but themselves. But here we are, where, on a national and a local level, people are trying to grab power purely for their own benefit and masquerading it as democracy.

It is for this reason that I am thankful that we in Stradbroke at least have a parish council which, for the first time in an age, is being run by honest people honestly for the benefit of the village. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending that you vote only for the seven sitting parish councillors in the elections on 2nd May 2019, these being Chris Edwards, Jeremy Fox, James Hargrave, Kamal Ivory, Maureen John, Velda Lummis, and Toni Wisbey. The fact these these seven are running on one platform speaks for itself; it is a sign of unity and unanimity, one which signals that their presence on the Parish Council is done in the true spirit of public service, with no regard for themselves.

Right now, the situation in Stradbroke is a microcosm of what we are seeing on a national level with Brexiters, where lies are being normalised, where those telling lies either believe they're telling the truth, or know they're telling lies and carry on regardless. This is why I am suggesting that you do not vote for any of the other 9 candidates on the ballot paper. This election is costing the village money, when the opportunity was there for these people to make themselves available for co-option onto the council over the last 15 months.

Here's a non-exclusive list of reasons not to vote for those nine people. Amongst them are:
  • people who say they adhere to the Nolan Principles when they do the exact opposite (their attempted bullying of me while I was on the council being such an action, and attempted bullying of current and past councillors);
  • someone with a criminal conviction for malicious communications;
  • trustees of a charitable trust whose accounts are over 50 days overdue (breaking charity law);
  • trustees of a charitable trust which is interfering in the current election by distributing a libellous and vexatious leaflet (but which the Charity Commission would do nothing about because it has bigger fish to fry);
  • non-signatories to a poison pen letter which was distributed in the village this time last year (the excuse for non-signature being that there was no room on the leaflet - LOL);
  • people who have previously resigned from the Parish Council and said they would never stand again;
  • people claiming to have had a significant role in the Neighbourhood Plan passed by a referendum and adopted by Mid-Suffolk but complaining that actions now being implemented from that plan are undemocratic;
  • people who want to knock down the primary school to make way for a supermarket and car park.
I could go on, but I won't. Let it just be said that I suspect I will once again be subjected to attempted bullying and to malicious rumours about my private life once this post has been published.

And this brings me full circle. We live in malevolent times, times when those telling lies will allow no investigation of their motives, nor reveal their hidden agendas, and claim they are standing for truth. Vote for the current seven parish councillors and for no-one else if you want a bright future for Stradbroke in these dark dark days.




17 March 2019

Saint Gertrude

She is startled by reflections
Her one eye doesn't understand,
By the light travelling along the wall,
The spectre of full sight eluding her.

In the dark, she sees figments
That aren't a part of her,
A distant rumble of verse
Throbbing in her empty socket.

On the bed, at dawn,
She paws her comfortable places
In search of more sleep,
Somewhere to rest her tired eye.

Outside, belly close to the frozen ground,
She searches for the sun in winter,
Shivers under the shining lustre of fur,
And sleeps by the open back door.

12 March 2019

Saint Theresa

I saw you coming out of church on Sunday
Clutching your handbag and husband
And leaning against the wind and the country
With a smile painted painfully on your empty face
Stiff amidst those who guard you
Reclining gladly into the car we pay for
With the millionaire who owns you.

I thought of what you have achieved:
Hostile environment,
The deaths of disabled,
State-sponsored terrorising of the poor,
Sparkling necklaces and leather trousers for yourself,
Poverty in deserted streets,
Tumbleweed in city centres,
The desertion of industry,
Legally-binding self-destruction,
Windrush.
A seemingly endless list of selfless deeds.

Your Christianity seems of the type
That led the Crusades’ massacres,
Looted world history for nationalism,
Colonised continents to subjugate,
Segregated colours and creeds,
Exterminated the Other,
And blessed guns for Hitler.
Such kindness is rare.

I saw you coming out of church
And couldn’t fathom your hypocrisy.

8 March 2019

#InternationalWomensDay

For all the women on this planet, this poem is the most popular that I've performed in public. Grab the equality you should have with both hands.

Numbers

Often,
You make yourself old before you are,
Hiding behind the invisibility the world
Creates for all women of a certain age.

Time is nothing.
Time doesn’t move.
We move through static time.

You could wear now
The clothes you wore when we first met.
You could wear now
The smile you wore when we first met,
And I looked up from some book or another,
Full of useless scribbles,
And you looked back, because I was there.

What has passed has passed.
It is not what makes us. These numbers
Are artificial measures of a time
We don’t have.

You could wear nothing
And I would love every mark
Of the time you have passed through.
You could wear leopard skin legs
And I would worship you
The way I do now, in the cloak of the banal.
Nothing changes inside us,
And time is outside.

Stop counting.
I have. I never started.

5 March 2019

Living in a lawless land - Part II

Since my most recent blogpost (3rd March), Theresa May has one day, laughably, claimed that reducing the police force has had no direct correlation with rising knife crime in the UK, and then, today, as I wrote this, announced a series of emergency meetings with ministers and police to discuss rising knife crime.

Should it be any surprise to anyone that austerity itself, and never mind the resulting reduction in public services including policing, has a hugely negative impact on people's self-esteem, people's hope, and people's ability to earn a living? Should it be any surprise that knives are almost a weapon of choice because they're so much more easily available than guns? And should it be any surprise that poor people will be tempted to rob without thinking of the consequences when the state, this government, gives them no means to get out of the ever-decreasing circle of poverty and hopelessness and subjugation?

And subjugation is exactly what the Brexiters are after, what the Upper Class want. They don't just want to amass as much money as they possibly can; they want to ensure that the working and striving classes remain where they, in the eyes of the wealthy, belong. That's why they want to escape the tighter investment regulations of the EU, that's why they don't want "common" people guiding the future of the country, that's why they incite right-wing mobs to intimidate and frighten people who dare to have views which don't align to theirs.

Not only that, the Upper Class, feeding on the Class Complex, aim to subjugate those who have the audacity to want to better themselves, those who work hard and talk freely, who want to raise their incomes so they can make a better life for themselves and their families, who want to have some spare cash beyond all this to help those in greater need than themselves. "No!" cry the Upper Class. "You can't try to be up here! Go back down to where you belong!" And they help themselves to your freedom, your opportunities, your fought-for chances. That's what they do.

Coming back to rising crime, how can anyone expect the youth of this nation to keep within the law when its ruling classes break the law every minute of every day? This is where we are now, and the country breaks more and more every second that goes by. We are approaching the end of days.

3 March 2019

Living in a lawless land

When we hear that popular trope that mature democracies destroy themselves, our thoughts tend to immediately scurry to military coups culminating in the installation of a dictator, of manufactured right-wing unrest ending in the accession to the seat of power of the one single person who instigated that unrest in the first place. But it's not like that - we're witnessing, in the Developed World and in the UK in particular, a different kind of destruction of democracy, a creeping destruction centred around the studied ignoring of the law whilst pretending to be following the law to the letter.

Perceived wisdom was that the UK's First Past The Post two party system with elections at most five years apart was the best way to prevent extremism, but the past few years have shown that this is not the case. The SDP, and then the Liberals with the SDP as part of it, almost broke the mould, and were on the cusp of greater things when Clegg decided not to go into coalition with Labour but the Tories instead, and managed to destroy that faint seed of hope with the betrayal of young people over tuition fees (and more, like not opposing austerity). And now we're living in times when both main parties are so alike each other in their extremism that voters are actually powerless right now to change things. Yes, the small breakaway TIG might facilitate some short-term change in atttudes, but most of that is cosmetic and not real.

When I was a teenager, I was always fascinated and confused by my parents' blind adoration of the Royal Family, along with millions and millions of other English people. I just couldn't understand it. As I grew older and more mature, I did start to understand it in some way. This nation has always been in the grip of the wealthy property-owning class. (Actually, as an aside, the English class system always baffled me, too, until I realised that it's no different to any other caste system in the world). And that property-owning class has always had the will and the wherefore to ensure that things ran in its favour, that it would always be in that position where it could suppress those who had to work hard for a living and had precious little time to do anything but that, least of all agitate for change.

This is the parallel of what I've always described as the German Fuehrer complex, the absolute desperate need to have a leader who doesn't necessarily proceed by consensus, but leads so others don't need to put their head over the parapet (when I lived in Germany, even the Alternative wanted and needed a charismatic leader rather than anything else to feel they were succeeding). At least this perceived complex is only a cult of personality (this is how Merkel has become the beloved matriarch because her actions have been charismatic rather than her). At least Germany has Proportional Representation to allow many leaders in their parliament and prevent in some way the taint of extremism.

The UK has a parellel to this, and it is what I call the Class Complex. The problem is that it runs deeper than most people perceive. It is a complex based on self-loathing, on the belief of the less well-educated and less well-off, that the property-owning class, the privately-educated class, the Upper Class, is superior in all ways, and that, in effect, anyone with a posh accent, a posh education, and privilege, is better than anyone else. And, like it or not, the private schools, the private hierarchies, teach confidence, the confidence to tell lies without anyone else realising. This is why this class run the country, why even Labour governments have been nothing but a temporary illusion of change, ultimately hampered by Upper Class civil servants, Upper Class mainstream media (and that's not just the BBC, although the BBC has been the main media culprit in facilitating Brexit), Upper Class employers. And it's not just established money that's Upper Class - people continually buy their way into that upper tier. Note, too, the fact that the UK has no written constitution works in their favour. Note, too, that Magna Carta wasn't actually valid for very long, and that all it actually did was devolve some power from monarch to the Upper Class of its time. So it didn't actually create a freer society. Nor did it create a system of laws that even the rich have to adhere to.

This leads me to the state this nation is currently in.

An advisory referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union was set up by a Prime Minister losing control over his already right-wing party. That Prime Minister's government then proceeded to illegally claim that the result of this advisory referendum would be honoured by the government whilst at the same time not putting into place safeguards such as a super-majority or a minimum turnout, as well as disenfranchising vast swathes of UK citizens (including but not limited to overseas citizens, and 16-17-year-olds), as well as EU citizens already with the rights to vote in local elections in the UK.

This advisory referendum was then hijacked by racist and opportunistic politicians (interestingly privately educated and with posh accents) wanting to leave the EU to further their own interests, in the process creating bands of followers suffering from the Class Complex, and making these bands more vociferous and plentiful by breaking electoral law to such an extent that the Electoral Commission believed criminal acts were committed.

And this is where it all breaks down - neither the Labour Party (which is supposed to represent the real interests of the Working Class) nor the Conservative Party (which of course represents the real interests of the Upper Class and those buying their way into it) say anything about that law-breaking. They say nothing about criminal acts being committed which would have invalidated the referendum had it been a binding one or a general election. They steadfastly insist that going ahead with Brexit is "the will of the people." The government instructs the police and the National Crime Agency not to investigate the criminal acts committed by the Leave campaign. Is this really the way a civilised and law-abiding land should be governed? No. And both major political parties are complicit in letting this happen. And both major political parties continue to allow the law to be broken, with no thought for the interests of millions and millions of law-respecting citizens, in opposition to what the majority of the people now want, which is to stay in the EU.

In truth, the reputation of the UK is irretrievably broken. No-one trusts this country any more, because it is a country where the government and the main opposition party encourage and support the breaking of the law, and allow liars and thieves to walk all over decent people. Shame on them.



12 February 2019

RIP Gordon Banks - the goalkeepers' union

Goalkeepers

It’s always like this.
The last line of defence,
The final cliché.
We are the ones who suffer.

Even in victory,
Each weakness, misjudgement,
Is sentenced a callous on our selves,
And in defeat
Ours is the honour called to task.

We are the guardians of the grail,
Keepers of spirit and soul,
The mysteries of the game,
Always carrying guilt and glory
In our bootbag.

30 January 2019

Why Your YES Vote Matters - In Plain English

Currently

Planning applications go to the Parish Council and Mid-Suffolk District Council (MSDC).
The Parish Council makes recommendations on planning applications.
MSDC is not legally obliged to act on the recommendations of the Parish Council.
MSDC is under great pressure from central government to build lots of houses.
There are many landowners who wish to build houses in this uncontrolled way.
MSDC will likely approve many of these developments even if locals oppose them, and even if the Parish Council recommends they shouldn't be built.
The village receives a maximum 15% of the Community Infrastructure Levy.


NO Vote

The above continues to apply, with the resulting rapid expansion of the village with no real regard for the view of villagers, nor with a regard to the increased load on road, sewage, doctors' surgery (to name but a few).

Some misguided soul has (probably illegally) defaced a planning application opposite Doggetts saying that if you vote No, the planning application will not go forward. This is untrue. The above current situation will still apply.

YES VOTE

If the referendum decides YES, the Neighbourhood Development Plan comes into effect immediately.
MSDC will be legally obliged to adhere to the Neighbourhood Development Plan, and will not be able to approve any big housing developments not in the plan.
Any planning applications which have not yet been assessed or approved will be decided on the terms of the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The village will directly receive 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

By voting yes, you guarantee sustainable housing development, increased income for the village. You decide the future of the village for the next twenty years.

VOTE YES IN THE REFERENDUM ON 31st JANUARY. It makes sense.

28 January 2019

Stradbroke Neighbourhood Plan Referendum - Private Profit or Public Benefit?

Before we're asked to take part in the People's Vote (and yes, it will come), there's another referendum where we're being asked to answer the question I've asked above. And it's on Thursday 31st January 2019 at Stradbroke Community Centre, with polling open from 7am to 10pm.

You've seen me write before in opposition to untenable and frankly destructive planning applications (all past articles on this), and on my support for the current Neighbourhood Plan, because I believe that sustainable gradual housing development is better than rapid uncontrolled housing development which will put impossible pressures on Stradbroke's amenities and infrastructure, not least the doctors' surgery and the roads.

As we have seen in the past, many of the planning applications have been put in by those seeking entirely to profit from them even if it's to the detriment of the village. Many of these applications have even gone so far as to include affordable housing to increase the likelihood of Mid-Suffolk District Council (MSDC) passing them, only, once approved, to remove in its entirety the affordable housing from the plans. Make of that what you will - I call it corruption and self-interest.

MSDC is under huge pressure from central government to find land supply for at least the next five years, in other words to find places for people to buy houses because the populations continues to expand. Without a Neighbourhod Plan, these houses could be built any old where if MSDC approves them (which they will, under pressure from government, estate agents, and landowners). With a Neighbourhood Plan, MSDC can only approve houses on the sites in the Stradbroke Neighbourhood Plan, sites which have been voted on and approved by those who went to the various consultation events on the Neighbourhood Plan, and those who went to the trouble of reading the Neighbourhood Plan online and commenting online. The selected sites have been selected by consensus. If you vote for the Neighbourhood Plan in the referendum on 31st January, you will have put this village in control of it own destiny, in control of the pace and intensity of development, and MSDC will have to follow your instructions, your Neighbourhood Plan.

Unfortunately, there is a group of "concerned residents" in Stradbroke who are opposed to this Neighbourhood Plan, who this time have managed to find space on their misleading (and probably illegal) leaflet to put their names on it as the fonts of all knowledge (sic; inside joke; add Spartacus to that), and are calling people to an information meeting on either Tuesday or Wednesday before the referendum (supposedly an open meeting). I think there is a deliberate intention there to obfuscate and confuse Stradbroke residents. Please remember this is the group which put out a poison pen letter of a leaflet in April 2018 which met with the disapproval of almost the entire public meeting at which it was discussed. These people have no interest in democracy.

The referendum on 31st January 2019 is a simple majority vote referendum. This means that every vote counts. This means that your YES vote could be the winning vote. And when you're thinking of how to vote ask yourself what you really want. And take a walk down Neaves Lane and then multiply the mess down there by 14.

YES TO THE PLAN = PUBLIC BENEFIT
NO TO THE PLAN = PRIVATE PROFIT (and not into your pocket either) AND CHAOS