Capitalism is what happens when the psychopaths and gangsters are running the neighbourhood. Our only chance is to wrestle the wheel from them.

Gordon Liddle, detail from Woodcut II of the Sixth Extinction series

… and create a National Forest the length and breadth of the UK.

Zombie Apocalypse, 16th Aug 2021

by Gordon Liddle

Time to pause. Stop. Time to take stock. We are drifting toward war and ecological collapse like drunks seeking the next open bar. Staggering along, bouncing off lampposts and cars, desperate for the next drink to avoid reality. And the reality isn’t pretty.

            It’s been quite a week hasn’t it? IPCC report all doom and gloom, quickly whisked off the front pages of every newspaper, Ken Loach removed from the Labour Party, along with thousands of other socialists, as Sir Rodney Woodentop continues the purges, and the end game in Afghanistan, which we all new was coming. Apparently, some journalists and politicians are shocked at the events unfolding, which is quite a thing. Where have they been for the last twenty years and what were they thinking was going to be the result? These are well paid, supposedly intelligent and well read, what goes on in their heads? To be a journalist in the West and specifically in the US and UK it seems the only qualification is to turn up, don’t write anything untoward or probing, keep your head down and recycle the double speak handed to you by your line manager. Astonishing.


‘Spaffer’ Johnson in Morrisons

Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving, has, together with the zombies, left us short of lorry drivers, according to the press. This is bullshit. Our government has made the UK a place where any ‘forinners’ aren’t welcome, so ‘forrin’ drivers have stayed away. Many companies in the EU can’t be bothered with all the red tape which is now involved to export goods to the UK, so they gave up exporting here, so no return drivers to take goods back to the EU. On top of that the UK government classed lorry drivers as ‘unskilled’ so no free movement of drivers from abroad to keep driving here. Add to this that drivers have been leaving the profession for years because the pay and conditions are dire, and you have the perfect storm. You don’t become a heavy goods vehicle driver overnight, and the training is expensive, so this is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s what happens when you have a government of idiots. So, we have the armed forces stepping in to deliver goods to supermarkets. Join the army and meet people, in Morrison’s warehouse. The Queens Own Broccoli Regiment step forward please!

Join the army and meet people, in Morrison’s warehouse. The Queens Own Broccoli Regiment step forward please!

            The Dark Knight has been continuing his purge of the Labour Party, an extra shove as conference draws near. You are five time more likely to be purged for antisemitism if you are a Jewish member than a non-Jewish member. Let that sink in. This week was the turn of the world-renowned film director and humanitarian Ken Loach. Apparently, he was in a group proscribed by Labour and refused to disassociate himself from the others and wouldn’t name them to save himself. The director of Cathy Come Home and I Daniel Blake is now outside the Party again whilst Islamophobes and downright racists adorn the PLP and Labour councillors across the country. Remember, this man, Sir Rodney Woodentop, pledged to unite the Party and follow on from the 2019 manifesto commitments. He lied. From the very start he was a plant, an establishment shill brought in to make Labour a toothless lapdog of the established order.

You are five time more likely to be purged for antisemitism if you are a Jewish member than a non-Jewish member. Let that sink in.

Remember rent-a-gob James O’ Brien muttering into his mike that ‘any other leader and Labour would be twenty points ahead in the polls?’ Well, they certainly aren’t that, with the worst Tory government in living memory. Whoever does the promotions for his utterances online is also an idiot, which we saw this week with him coming up with the line that he could sanction the killing of an Alpaca. That made all the wrong headlines. Who was he trying to recruit to vote Labour? Harold Shipman? The Dark Knight is destroying Labour as a political force and destroying the Party into the bargain. He is an utter disgrace, and what’s worse, as we desperately need an alternative government to take up the challenge of global warming and ecological collapse, he is wasting the time of the only Party in the UK at least of making the case for drastic changes, and for that most of all I shall never forgive him. His screech back to Blairite neoliberalism in the face of what is looking on the horizon is unforgiveable. I expect it from the Tories, we all know their indifference to suffering and ecology, but the glimmer of hope we had under Labour’s GND manifesto commitments at least offered that, hope. Now we probably have another term of Tories in power, with all the time wasting on reform that entails, and that to me is Labour’s biggest crime.

Remember rent-a-gob James O’ Brien muttering into his mike that ‘any other leader and Labour would be twenty points ahead in the polls?’

            The IPCC report came and went this last week. Although the report is of course conservative in its approach, not surprising as it has to accommodate many governments and bodies who are to say the least rather sceptical, it was still a damning citation of where we have allowed ourselves to drift. The situation is dire. The horse hasn’t quite bolted yet, but the stable door is wide open, and the groom is asleep on the job. Ten million acres are burning out of control across Siberia as I write this. Italy, Turkey and other parts of Europe are still ablaze, meanwhile billionaires are talking about putting billboards into space and opening up space tours. It’s madness. Starting from the base point of reference that all our political leaders and corporate billionaires are for the most part psychopaths, it wasn’t long before they trotted out the usual platitudes in response to the report. Biden gave a presser in which he waxed lyrical about the $1 Trillion GND package he was getting through the House and then, just at the end, the Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced in reply to a press question that she ‘had made it clear to OPEC countries that she expected them to increase oil production to reduce the cost of fuel to boost the economy.’ This on top of Biden giving another 2000 fracking and drilling permits on Federal Land as well as confirming the Line 3 Tar Sands pipeline. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Capitalism is literally burning all our planetary resources to accumulate vast sums of wealth for a very few people and we are just observers.

Capitalism is literally burning all our planetary resources to accumulate vast sums of wealth for a very few people and we are just observers. When people ask me, what is the biggest driver of global warming and ecological collapse I am always temped to mutter, ‘it’s the economy, stupid!’ Our so called ‘leaders’ are like gangsters, they move into the neighbourhood, give all sorts of false promises, then, in no time at all they are running criminal rackets and demanding protection money. The real time gangsters are no different but at least they are honest, the don’t pretend to be anything but gangsters. The Tories have made themselves, their hedge fund and big Pharma buddy’s colossal amounts of money from this pandemic, whilst the rest of us have to get by, prices rising across the board from food to building supplies. And yet we do nothing. More people are vexed about Abi and Dale being chucked out of Love Island.

The Tories have made themselves, their hedge fund and big Pharma buddy’s colossal amounts of money from this pandemic, whilst the rest of us have to get by

            By this weekend of course, the media had moved on from the upcoming Extinction Event and had the Premiership football to tout, as well as other mind-numbing bits of trivia to keep the ignorant occupied.  The BBC had even de-listed the IPCC report from its hot news list. Then we had the debacle in Afghanistan.


Saigon 1975, Kabul 2021

           

Knowing the oncoming storm of troop departure and chaos that would follow, the PM and Foreign Secretary, as well as the rest of the Cabinet went on their holidays. As events followed their logical course during the week and then this weekend, our government was conspicuously missing in action. Twenty years, where the end result was always inevitable and still, they couldn’t prepare to leave in an orderly manner, nor protect the hundreds of thousands of women and children who, along with anyone who participated with the occupying forces, will be subject to the most horrifying crimes. Only weeks ago, Spaffer went before Parliament and said, ‘there was no military route to power for the Taliban!’ Either he was badly advised by intelligence services that don’t deserve the title or he was lying again. Either way the ordinary people of the area are the ones to suffer once again. Both Biden and Johnson should resign but we know that leaders don’t do honour anymore.

Only weeks ago, Spaffer went before Parliament and said, ‘there was no military route to power for the Taliban!’

As the rest of the World looks on in shock, we are resigned to the fact that our government will do all it can to stop refugees from Afghanistan from reaching our shores. The Mail and Telegraph, Sun and Express will be soon pumping our more bile about migrants in the Channel and scroungers coming here to get free hotel stay and access to our health service (if it still exists by then). All over social media we had pictures of thousands on the runway in Kabul trying to board planes, even as they were taking off, falling helplessly to their deaths as they gained height. Shocking.

            This is what happens when the psychopaths and gangsters are running the neighbourhood. Our only chance is to wrestle the wheel from them.  Then pause! Stop and think.


Let’s plan a route away from the suicidal path we are on.

Start with some very obvious things, immediately cut to a four-day week.

Stop promoting the consuming of endless rubbish.

Start taxing the commons and make companies place a deposit before mining to cover the costs of reparations when they have finished.

Write off the debt of the Global South so they can prepare for the coming ecological onslaught that they had no part in engineering.

Ban tax havens and then tax billionaires till they squeal.

Nationalise all water Companies and Power Companies and Grids.

Pay a decent state pension so oldies can actually retire instead of taking jobs which younger people could do, the money is a multiplier and just goes straight back into the economy.

Close all Public (private) Schools and educate our citizens properly (it will never happen whilst the elite can opt out).

Promote the arts, sciences, things that make life worth living.

Teach kids ecology and how to have a social relationship with the natural world, let them do some gardening, kids actually love it.

Start rewilding parts of the UK, we could start with Grouse Moors. Upland sheep farmers could be made countryside stewards with the same subsidies we give them to allow sheep to keep the uplands denuded of trees and wild areas.

Create a National Forest the length and breadth of the UK.

Ban all external funding for MP’s and remove the House of Lords replacing it with a people’s assembly.

Ban deep sea trawling, remove our nuclear weapons, we don’t need them.

Set up a doughnut economy with doughnut cities.

Link executive pay to the pay of the lowest worker in the organisation.

The list of what we could do is endless, it just needs vision. Draw up a Marshal type plan to work with other governments toward a common goal, which is now, survival.

We cannot afford Capitalism anymore. Until we realise that, we are heading to oblivion. The upcoming COP26 will be lots of hot air and happy clapping, then Biden will go home and announce more drilling, Putin will start to mine in Siberia and the Chinese will still be our offshore factory churning out more tat, whilst Bolsanaro lays waste to the Amazon. You know they will. Then as the power of the US wanes, and that of China grows, the receding power will want to start a war. Possibly a little trial run with Iran first but then inevitable with China. And it will be the last one. The gangsters are insane. It’s time to change them

            On Sunday, Joan and I went for a walk along a local nature trail. In the hour and a half walk we saw only four butterflies, a few bees and a couple of hoverflies. Hardly any birds and no mammals. It is a dessert. We are already in deep, deep shit. Keep washing your hands.


Gordon Liddle was born 1956, Horden, County Durham, United Kingdom Married, lives and works at his Derbyshire studio. BA Hons, Sheffield Psalter Lane Art College Gordon has had numerous positions and travelled extensively through the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Africa and Europe, with particular interests in religion, democracy, politics, economics, MMT, and culture. The results of these studies form the basis of the series of works now under way. Numerous works bought by private collectors #Madonna Victorian Mood Bought by Andrew Cavendish the 11th Duke of Devonshire is owned by the Chatsworth Collection. ‘Celestial Teapot’ was exhibited at La Galleria Pall Mall in London for one week in 2013, 4 days at Art Basel in 2014. Currently working on Gaia, The Sixth Extinction Series, of paintings, woodcuts and hopefully etchings soon. Also writing two books and a book of poems and rants. Gordon is on Twitter @sutongirotcip and his website is pictorignotus.com