Sunday, 10 April 2016

System Error

Not about one man's taxes - about the culture within the system of government that imposes austerity on the vulnerable, yet bails out banks - that takes away our ability to access justice by making it costly, whilst avoiding the finer points of law with expensive accountants and that has so little value for the health and wellbeing of communities - that it promotes and forces on us, dangerous industrial practices that put us at risk - for the sake of 'the economy' ...that same economy that is failing our hospitals, schools and disabled ...that same economy that is a fraction of what it would be, if we didn't build in avoidance/evasion/corruption for those who can afford it..
This coming weekend... individuals and groups from all sectors of society - fed up with the hypocrisy of a government that ignores the plight of doctors, teachers, children - whilst avoiding responsibility on any level.
We have a system problem - not just a party or individual problem... but this is a start.  The following is from the People's Assembly who are organising the gathering on Saturday 16 April 2016:

National Demonstration - Saturday 16 April - March for:
Assemble: 1pm, Gower Street / Euston Road, London 
(Stations: Euston, Warren St, Goodge St) 
March to Trafalgar Square 

Organised by the People's Assembly Against Austerity
The Tories are facing their biggest crisis yet. David Cameron’s stake in his father’s off shore tax haven, prove that this is a government for the privileged few, not for the majority. This shows beyond all doubt that Cameron is divorced from the life of any working person.

The governments failure to deal with the steel crisis could leave thousands without a job. They've attacked junior doctors and student nurses while privatising the NHS. They plan to force all schools to become academies and teachers are now balloting to strike over pay and conditions. They've done nothing to address the growing housing crisis. Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation shows a government falling apart.

This is a situation, which is unrecoverable for the Tories if we mobilise, demonstrate and unite everyone together against austerity.

- Fully funded and publicly owned NHS - end privatisation
- Invest in health workers - end the staffing crisis
- No cuts or closures

- Hands off social housing
- Secure homes for all
- Control rents

- Scrap the Trade Union Reform Bill
- Stop insecure contracts
- End the pay freeze, living wage for all

- Scrap Tuition Fees
- Invest in our futures - stop cuts to education
- End the marketisation of education

We face a vicious government who prioritise only the richest in society, big business and the corporations. With the potential of 4 more years of a government who will continue dismantling the NHS, furthering the housing crisis, taking away workers rights, and attacking our education system - it's time to get back on the streets and to demonstrate the majority won't take it.

The Tories aren't going to back down easily so it's up to each and every one of us to get out and march for our Health, Homes, Jobs and Education.

Last year saw massive political shifts. After the devastating general election result, where the Tories gained a tiny majority, it became clear that the result did not reflect the views of the Country.

Immediately after the election, protests, meetings, rallies and demonstrations took place up and down the country culminating in one of the biggests demonstrations in Britain for years with 250,000 people bringing London to a stand still on the End Austerity Now Demonstration organised by the People's Assembly.

Since then, the surge in support for anti austerity politics, being put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, is yet another indication that people are fed up with policies that only represent those at the top.

Austerity is a choice not a necessity.

See you in London on April 16. Let's make this the biggest demonstration possible. Transport will be arranged from across the country. full details inc. route and speakers will be announced soon.

The People's Assembly

Monday, 21 March 2016

Branding Truth...

I was reading an interesting observation piece on LinkedIn entitled: The Art of Marketing to the Gullible and recognised the truths both as having worked in marketing and now, primarily working actively to whip away its veils and expose the dangers lurking beneath. The author, Simon Iredale asked things like:

"How did we end up drinking fizzy drinks laced with sugar, eating deep fried foods at every opportunity, believing that chocolate bar with nuts and raisins was good for us? How do we borrow more money than we can afford, buy products with global logos on for much more than they’re worth and give our kids graphically animated games that ‘shut them up’?"

"At the time of writing this we have leading UK politicians blatantly lying but being believed, we have very educated people buying products that are actively contributing to global warming, we have one of the most dangerous men in the world being followed and voted for by legions of adoring fans (and I’m not talking about North Korea). We are individuals so surely we can’t make a difference? If I stop buying that sugary drink will that shut the company down? If I stop buying that shampoo will the tree felling stop?"

I was speaking with a former UK Diplomat about how after public meetings about the process of fracking, the following would happen and what to do about the last bit: Most people would gather to form groups or question the speakers, looking for ways to be effective in preventing the industry from getting started. No-one ever said we were wrong (apart from the odd, exposed industry-insider) but there were always a few who would say:

"Sure it's a bad thing but hey, what can you do? The government has said we're getting it."

The Diplomat replied: "Oh yes, that's the 'Implied Inevitability''s relied on to convince people that they are powerless to stop something; a decision has been made." Not that a law had yet changed or that planning permission had been obtained, just that somebody important said it would happen.

White coats and sharp news-reader suits have a lot to answer for. Before online alternatives, we were informed of all the inevitables as well as shades of reality that media chose to shine a light on; all together at 6 and 10 o'clock. By the end of the news you had a picture of the world as told by the sensible man in the suit.

Then along came online and instead of wondering if it was just me feeling jaded and sceptical about all sorts of things from the news items to margarine, or if my opinion of the politician on Question Time was a rare one... I could go to Twitter and engage with countless others feeling the same, asking questions, searching reports, sharing results and informing ourselves.

In the past, I have written quite a few hotel websites and was delighted as they became virtually worthless with the advent of reviews by actual guests. Although to be taken with a pinch of salt and awareness that not everybody's definition of 'yuk' is the same... I have more chance of truth on than a glossy description by someone who hasn't even visited and is acting on information, from the person who most needs it to sound perfect,

Applying marketing skills to truth telling is a glorious plan and maybe that's what is happening particularly amongst the (unplanned) 'branding' of our 'Nana' activists against fracking in the UK and the Knitting Nanas Against Gas fighting coal seam  gasification in Australia? For us here in the UK, identifying as Nanas was simply an attempt to make clear WHY we became activists and to ensure anyone watching us on media, would not see us titled as something they maybe didn't relate to like: 'eco warriors' 'environmental campaigners' etc.

Our 'Nana' status was a job title and description in one - we are protecting our young.

There's no denying that the world is changing rapidly with the advent of new technology - for better and for worse.. my hope is that we seize the moments to infuse them with truth and humanity so that the cold hard sell, becomes obsolete.

I'll leave the last words with Simon as they sum it up well:

"We are amazing marketers; we perform magic tricks on the world, we seek out the gullible and take their hard earned money. It’s really dead simple. The good news however is that we have this ability in our hands to do this magic, to make people believe what we tell them, to make a difference to peoples perception of the brands we work on."

*Note the notes before taking too literally :)

ps... just discovered some having fun and effect with the old marketing ways by turning the tables on big fibbers.