Comment: I’m. Not. Even.Joking.

Comment: I’m. Not. Even.Joking.

So it’s back to the U.K. which is in my opinion becoming increasingly dystopic. As if the “Rule of six” wasn’t sinister sounding enough. I don’t sense much disquiet, but then I haven’t been scrolling. Maybe being away is giving me a different perspective but it all sounds very dark. What’s this I hear about a curfew?

As I prepare to return; I’ve been in Rome and Pineto on the Adriatic coast either side of a yoga retreat at the idyllic Casa Amrita. I can’t help thinking wa guarn? I mean it really- what is going on? Yesterday read in Brixton Buzz about panic buying of toilet roll due to the threat of another lockdown. Have we learnt nothing?

In a searing piece by John Crace in the Guardian he notes 47 regions are under strict lockdown measures at this time. 

Caught a pronouncement live from BJ mid retreat but didn’t wanna engage with that at the time. Looked like he had got a memo to drop the clown act. Heard him wrap the words humanity and spiritual around the threat of £10 000 fines and if necessary the army on the streets like wrapping a semi automatic in cotton wool. And we’re still cracking jokes about it? Like this:

My concern is this:  Whatever your stance on the virus we cannot let this situation act as a cover for a descent into a surveilled, militarised “new normal” with a government issuing draconian powers. I fear I speak too late. Above all we must not descent into fear. It feeds the darkness. Hold onto Love. 

The experience of the lockdowns and post lockdowns have given us the opportunity to come together in a new way, to build the foundations of a new world; in the recognition of the value of previously undervalued workers, a focus on health and wellbeing, on those we love, new skills, new habits, the extensive mutual aid. A reboot if you like or a refrag, I guess a reboot would be full system change. 

Im wondering what has been the reaction to this? What have Liberty had to say? What about trade unions? What about the Labour Party? What about communities? Really don’t wanna see a return to the lockdown semi Stasi attitudes and behaviour, rare but there nevertheless. 

I don’t know who said it, though it was repeated in Tahrir in the autumn of 2011, we either go backward or forward. We cannot stay here. Of course as “Nothing is constant except change.” So what will it be?

We are seeing how we will have to fight to see our way out of Covid to hold onto decent jobs, pay, dignity and justice. Nurses have been carved out of the public sector pay review. They have been on the streets.  While culture workers are taking on the might of the Southbank and the Tate. While culture workers are taking on the might of the Southbank and the Tate. Workers in out cultural institutions need our support. Art is essential. You can donate to the strike fund for the latter here.  Poetry on the Picket line are all over this check their Facebook page for updateshttps://en-gb.facebook.com/PicketLinePoets/

And the beloved poetry library on the Southbank has been put on ice! National Poetry Library SOS #NPLSOS

“We, the International Poetry Community, have grave concerns about the future of the UK’s National Poetry Library in the wake of Southbank Centre’s ruthless redundancy programme. The imminent job cuts and operational plans will ensure the library’s physical collection remains inaccessible to the public until at least April 2021. There will be no remote enquiry service. This will seriously undermine its essential operations along with its mission to collect all poetry published in the UK…”

Please circulate and sign this Poetry library petition https://www.change.org/p/southbank-centre-national-poetry-library-sos-nplsos

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