THE ADOLESCENT CAT

So I go down to the local town to buy my partner Jenny a birthday card and a present. I go into a gift shop owned by a good friend. I have a mask on and I sanitise on the the way in. My friend is not in the shop but her mother is at the counter wrapping up some pottery for a customer. I browse through the hand made cards produced by local artists and choose one with a view of a coastal valley in Ceredigion, the colours are beautiful, I am pleased. I move on to peruse the jewelry section and there I see a pair of silver earrings with jade coloured glass drops on them. Perfect, I often buy earrings for Jenny, I am a creature of habit, so I pick these up and stand two metres from the counter studiously socially distanced ftom the other customer. She leaves, I advance and I hand my purchases over for wrapping etc. We are now alone in the shop and we exchange pleasantries, after all we’ve known each other for more than twenty years. As she picks up some tissue paper from the counter top she turns the whole pile over and says something about having a new kitten who has walked over the paper and left a wet footprint on it. I say ‘Well cats don’t know about such distinctions I guess.’
She says ‘He’s new, he’s an adolescent boy, and you know what they’re like don’t you?’
I respond, flippantly, ‘Oh yes, there’s one of those in the White House right now.”
There’s a pregnant pause before she says ‘I am a Trump supporter, I’m fed up with namby pambyism, I admire his straight talking.’
I look her in the eyes and I say ‘ But he’s a total nazi….’ to which she replies, ‘Well I’d rather have that than wishy washy liberals.’
We talk for a bit longer about home grown politics and she tells me she was all for Corbyn but since the election the new Labour leadership is not for her. We talk a bit about Greece and Spain, Then, as she hands me the dinky mini brown paper carrier bag with the card and the fancy wrapped earrings in, I pay, say goodbye and walk up the high street back to my car.
I am very shocked. I remember back in the days when we were campaigning against the war in Iraq this woman was a staunch supporter of the local peace group and I have always thought of her as a comrade. I guess I’ll be buying birthday cards and earrings elsewhere in future. What the fuck is happening? I am confused. I take off my face mask, drive home, and pour myself a whiskey. I need it.

Harry Rogers, in the Red bedroom, October 12th, 2020.

SHINE LIKE GOLDEN SUNS

Maybe tomorrow we make it better,
Stand out on the streets or write a letter,
One way or another let’s get this done,
Let’s get together,one by one by one.
Don’t bring us leaders, those who take a ride,
Give us somebody to walk by our side.
As we march, our hearts, light as a feather,
Help us to smile through the stormy weather.
Sing those songs of struggle from long ago,
From Woody and Nina, help us to grow,
We’ll march through the north, we’ll march through the south,
Songs of love and hope filling every mouth,
Face down the racists, the boogaloo guns,
Up on higher ground shine like golden suns,

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, October 11th 2020.

Fol De Fucking Rol

Fol de fucking roll
There’s another poll.
The man with no soul
Scores one more own goal,
They roar four more years,
Forget nation’s tears,
Maskless down their beers,
Ramp up all our fears,
Reckoning soon come,
For chump on the stump,
When steroids wear off,
As he plays down cough,
He’ll beg for his mum,
Fall down with a bump,
Always remember,
Third of November,
Time for all to dump
Madman Donald Trump.

Harry Rogers in The Red Bedroom, 11th October 2020.

GOD PAYS DEBTS WITHOUT MONEY

God Pays debts without money,
So my mother used to say,
Well I don’t believe in God,
But sometimes it looks that way.
Four Five walks to the chopper,
He flashes a discrete wave,
Somehow he came a cropper,
Looks like a proper close shave.
No-one knows if he’s got it,
If he has it could get bad,
The electors have a fit,
Media go fucking mad,
His videos feel funny,
The tweets keep right on coming,
His campaign needs more money,
Fox News forever dumbing.
Over here across the pond,
We’re not quite sure what to think,
Will there be some magic wand,
Or another giant stink?
I’m hoping he doesn’t die,
We don’t need martyrs made fake,
He’ll not let sleeping dogs lie,
Can’t tell if he’s on the make,
Could be one thing or other,
Still got plenty of bunny,
I keep hearing my mother,
God pays debts without money.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, October 3rd 2020.

ARE THE PEOPLE HAPPY?

Alone on that high wire
That stretches over hell
They took away the safety net
That caught you when you fell
Check out Maggie’s death spooks,
We thought they were long gone
Now they’re back on our TV sets ,
They drone on, on, and on.
Are the people happy?
They really need to know.
Universal credit,
The furlough has run out,
Talk of viable jobs,
Trash the precariat.
They will measure your wellbeing
To work out how far can they go.
Are the people happy?
A scale of one to ten,
Decimate benefits,
Again, again, again.

Aberbanc: Halloween, 2016.
Revised in the Yellow Room, September 27th 2020

CINDERELLA SITUATION

I wrote this on holiday in 2018.

The dotard prince wanders around
He drags his knuckles over ground
The ice queen of celebrity
Frozen by mediocrity
Hides away a month and a day
Lost in the mists of Mandalay
Buggy rides from high tea to tee
Drive the green between thee and me
Steals our cash across the nation
Cinderella situation.
Takes colonial pith in vain
Messiah complex rules again
Judged not the fakir, blonde, insane
Injects the bile into each brain
Convinced the proletariat
That hate not love is where it’s at
A tragedy that says it all
Nobody’s going to the ball
There will be no recreation
Cinderella situation

8/10/2018 Tremezzo. Lago di Como, Italy.

CURFEWS ON CAMPUS

Empty libraries, no-one in the stacks,
There is no research, no-one sifts the facts.
Refectory shut down, lecture halls too,
Union bar gigs gone, nothing to do,
Students in garretts, now banged up all day,
Campus isolation all for 9K.
Laptop screens flicker in room after room,
Headphones on bonces, new learning on Zoom,
Tiers, pods and bubbles keep distanced apart,
Fears, gods and troubles, is no way to start.
Fresh faced freshers no way will stay quiet,
They will learn something, new ways to riot.
Curfews on campus, they’re all getting ill,
No track, and no trace, there’s no magic pill.
Still, just so long as students pay their fee,
They’ll get a University degree.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, September 28th 2020

ZUGZWANG BANG

Zugzwang is a zeitgeist word
Situation now absurd,
There is nowhere left to turn,
Every option crash and burn.
Capitalists in the shit,
Can we make the most of it?
Dodgy academia,
Propping up the media,
One more televised fraudcast,
Engineer a new fly past
Trouble in the tea room soon
Calls to ditch the blonde buffoon.
He says the troops can backfill
Shortcomings of the Old Bill
His warning stands, don’t break rules,
Exponential growth you fools.
Spread the fear, around, around,
Never ending new lockdown.
Stuck upon this roundabout
Feels there’s no easy way out.
We’re stuck inside a Zugzwang,
Heading for one great big bang.

Harry Rogers in the yellow room, September 23rd 2020.

Zugzwang (Noun) Being forced by circumstances to do something which you do not wish to do. Where whatever move you make it ends up bad.

Q AROUND THE SQUARE

I saw that Q a forming
On a hot Saturday morning,
Without too much of a warning,
They gather in Trafalgar Square,
They hug and kiss without a care,
Mass selfishness truly laid bare.
Watch as pale rider gallops through,
It searches for carriers new,
Infects tin hats and fascists too.
Rumours of hype and hoax are spread,
They freely mingle without dread,
No care or thought of future dead,
On Nelson’s head there sits a bird,
Immune, unlike this gathered herd,
He swoops down low and shits a turd,
Anti vaxers sing same old song,
Conspiracy feeds on and on,
I spy the British Q anon.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, September 21st 2020.

THE NEWS TODAY…

Today I watched TV news for one hour, and wrote down a list of key pandemic words and phrases. With such a blitzkrieg of conflicting information is it any wonder that people are distressed, depressed or have stopped listening.

Whack a mole
Moonshot
Sudacreme
Test and Trace
Crush the curve
Corona surge
Bottleneck
Areas of intervention
Support bubbles
Shielding
Circuit breaker
Night time curfew
Hospitality shutdown
Keep checking the regulations
Rule of six
Back to school
Back to work
Demand outstrips capacity of world class system
Processing backlog
Trend analysis distortion
Tighter restrictions
Open up the economy
Quarantine list
Non essential travel
Informal informing
R number
Warning signal
ICU
Exponential growth
Work from home
Don’t visit other people’s houses
Premier League football to restart with socially distanced crowds
No mingling
Swabs to your nose and throat
Infection survey
Wake up call
All in it together
Universities are open
Critical point
Nothing is inevitable
Protocols
Sticky blood
Tipping point
Reducing backlog
Turnaround time slippage
Self isolation the key
National Lockdown
Sobering week
Community transmission
Lighthouse lab system
Novel disease
Community responsibility
Do the right thing
Plan for the worst
Work for the best
Only people can make a difference
Wear a face covering
No engagement of four governments
Vacancy at heart of the UK government
Cytokine storm
Covid toes
Royal mint not making new coins
Furlough ending
New Year’s Eve fireworks cancelled
Stringent national lock-down
Accelerated uptick
Hoping for a drop-off in infection
The last line of defence
Christmas is coming, who knows where we go from here on in.
Me? I’m going to be self isolated most of the time.
Stay safe, as Arthur Lee said “The news today will be the movies of tomorrow.”

Harry Rogers in the yellow room, September 18th, 2020.

DON’T MINGLE DOWN THE DINGLE

Whatever you do don’t mingle,
When you walk your dog through the park,
If there’s six friends in the dingle
Don’t dwell for some sport or a lark.
If you want to go kill a grouse
With gundogs on a Scottish moor,
Plus twenty knobs from the big house,
You’re OK, that’s within the law.
Go buy yourself plus four britches,
And a fluffy checked woolen cap,
Drink whiskey with hounds and bitches,
Be a killer so full of crap.
Toddy toasts sat on shooting stick,
Sets bougeois hearts all a tingle
But if you’re no upper class prick,
Whatever you do DON’T MINGLE.

Harry Rogers in the blue bathroom, September 16th 2020.

GRASS GRASS GRASS

It’s open sesame today,
Parliament has had it’s say,
Home secretary stirs the pot,
Soon we’ll be banged up for,
Calling out the government.
No carping against the leadership,
His words are sacrosanct.
Get it all done, don’t ask questions,
Spread the fear, ball of confusion rolls again,
On a daily basis, the spads furiously churn out,
Aspirational propaganda,
On a daily basis.
Stay frightened,
Obey,
Grass, grass, grass.
The left wing smart ass intellectuals
Are the enemy,
Grass, grass, grass,
Stay scared,
Don’t believe anyone but us,
We are your friends,
We are all in this together, Except for grouse shooting parties,
They can, as usual,
Do what the fuck they like.
Grass, grass, grass.
Effectively,
On a daily basis.
It’s a World Class System.
New Normal,
Informal informing,
Stay safe,
Grass grass, grass,
We wash our hands, of responsibility,
We keep our distance from you,
It’s for your own safety,
GRASS, GRASS, GRASS.
Stay scared,
We’ll say anything necessary,
On a daily basis,
We’re the best in the world,
You voted us in,
Thanks.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow room, September 15th

HARK, I HEAR A LUNAR SHOT

Wwhhhaaaattttt the heck is happening?
One hundred billion pounds?
For something not invented?
Can’t they see how this all sounds?
Are we run by lunatics?
Which spad came up with Moonshot?
What, like shoot the fucking moon?
This ain’t nineteen sixty nine,
We’re not taking giant steps,
More like gross leaps in the dark.
This absurd fake lunar shit,
Is it full moon, or blue moon?
What kind of moon will we be
Shooting into our raddled veins?
Every day change the rules,
Hold out possibilities
That perhaps things will improve,
If we all wait a few months,
Life will get back to normal.
Not the old normal we loved,
But a new shiny normal.
A normal where we can be
Sure there’s no society,
Where Atlas has truly shrugged,
Where all phones are really bugged.
When was the last time we used
Cash to pay for anything?
Capitalism? What’s that?
Barbarism, new normal,
New rules, New Randian ways.
New zombie apocalypse,
Created to confuse us all,
To convince us that we’re small,
And big, rich, poor, sick and well,
That this is no living hell,
Each new day moonbeams glitter,
Spad vampire bats do flitter,
Take a moonshot in your bum.
This IS Pandemonium.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, September 13th 2020.

GREEDVILLE

Welcome to Greedville where dinosaurs thrive,
On top of towers are sharks that survive,
Oppulent décor that oozes with gold,
Tasteless faux artworks purport to be old,
Divorced from real worlds, sultans on the take,
They have the gall to say we’re fucking fake.
Family lords it, like they’re in the know,
Strut in their threads, some throwback freak show.
The leader’s a ghoul too big for his pants,
Surrounded all times by sick sycophants.
Today radio comes on with the proof,
Knew, but did nothing, obscured the truth.
As all the alt right suckle his nipple,
He looks for next state service to cripple.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 10th September 2020

BACK TO NEW BIZARRO NORMAL

No party raves in the front room
Friends and neighbors have got to go.
Reapers again clean weaponry,
New wave rolls on in Autumn sun.
With speed of light crash now arrives,
Us boomers, isolated still,
Watch fearfully behind curtains.
New normal unfolds fitfully,
Tory game unravels, full pelt,
No deflection can close our eyes
No political alibis,
Their spin has spun, we see through lies,
Watch piggies in Westminster stys,
As they place blame upon us all
Charades and faux walls start to fall,
They can’t placate us with football,
Where’s the people’s clarion call?
The whole facade is out of hand.
You need a test? Go to Scotland.
Don’t own a car? That’s your lookout,
Spads now deaf as we scream and shout.
Understand what it’s all about,
The immune herd, the truth is out,
Statistics no more carry clout,
Their information counts for nowt,
Nobody listens anymore,
To those who do not know the score,
Boris seems to be having fun,
Smirking as he gets Brexit done.
Glib postures won’t seal up the crack
Through which the knives fly to his back,
Thrown by his own, through smoke and flack,
This then the cost of being slack.
Tomorrow we go to the sea,
Must get away from misery,
Spend precious time with family,
Time flies, we might be next, d’you see?…….

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 9th September 2020.

A TOUCH OF THE VAPOURS

Brexit is back on the box
Truly electrifying,
No Deal is braced on the chocks
Soon Boris will be flying.
Hide pandemic behind cloud,
Move back onto safer ground,
Shout Get Brexit Done out loud,
Spike 2? Let’s not make a sound.
Tariffs just round the corner,
We eat our pudding and pie,
Pull out plum like Jack Horner,
Meanwhile we’re all gonna die.
Pritti is all in a twist,
Extinction comes true this time,
Freedom and truth will be missed,
Rebellion is now a crime.
Djocko headlines the papers,
The virus hides on page four,
I’ve a touch of the vapours,
Feels like we’ve been here before!

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 7th September 2020.

DON’S BLOOD RED MASQUE.

Citizens emerge from the woodwork and claim the right to bear arms against anyone they deem to be not on the same page as them.
These villainous vigilantes place their freedoms above all other rights and obligations.
Even above the ten commandments of Christianity that most of them claim to believe in.
The whiff of cordite is in the air, threatening to usurp the alcoholic odour of hand sanitiser.
Boogaloo boys and others wander the streets of US towns and cities dressed in paramilitary clothes and armed to the teeth with outlandish weaponry.
As tempers flare over racist atrocities, so the orchestrated insanity gains in intensity.
All of this plays to the crude theatre of the surreal that American politics has become.
I can hardly bring myself to tune into news bulletins for fear that the madness has been further ramped up.
I try to occupy myself with distractions, today I finally framed two Japanese ink paintings that I made in 1999.
Whilst I looked for pins to fix picture hooks to the wall with I came across a gold wedding ring in the bottom of a tin of assorted DIY bric-a-brac.
I have no idea how it came to be there, nor who it belonged to.
I’ve not opened this tin for a good twenty years, but this piece of 9 carat gold weighs in at seven grams.
Scrap 9ct gold currently fetches up to £18 per gram so that’s a cool £120 I never knew I had.
Luck it seems is unequally distributed around the globe.
I cannot stop the thoughts of bullets severing spinal chords that enter my fevered brain. Not even this joyous piece of serendipity can supplant the feelings of horror that overwhelm me as I watch Trump’s Red Death Masque unfold minute by minute, lie by lie.
The situation is grossly obscene, somebody or something, please take me out of this mindset, away from the pornography of ritual anti democracy and unconstitutionality as performed by four five and his perverse family on a daily basis.
Unfortunately I know that when I awake tomorrow it won’t be over.
Sure enough I wake to news that a seventeen year old boy has opened fire on unarmed protestors in Wisconsin.
I worry for all my good friends in America.
The fork tongued ghoul exhorts his followers to call for twelve more years. Twelve more years to wage war on his own people, sow division between wasps and everyone else.
The first lady glides onto my TV swathed in khaki and delivers the most egregious speech calling on people to pull together whilst her husband sends in the national guard.

Reason, democracy, trust,
These things lie trashed in the dust,
Bile poured by unbottled djins,
State fabric smashed like ninepins,
All the rednecks drink it up,
Yet they too lap hemlock cup.
Empire’s end, never pretty,
Nihilists bring mendacity,
One aim, protect privilege,
Rob, lie, burn, spurn tutelage,
Announce new normal, rain chaos,
Wave sweet reason adiós,
Dream’s over, now demons bask,
In light from Don’s blood red masque.

Harry Rogers, ranting in the Yellow Room, 27th August 2020.

PALE GYMKHANAE

The pale rider saunters into the car park at Tesco’s.
She fiddles with her pearls as she observes the obedient socially distanced queue who, in turn, wait patiently to purchase their fuel for the future.
The rider hides her identity behind a cloak of invisibility, dismounts from her temporary steed, and slides microscopically along the line in search of a new carrier.
Most of the people deny her entrance because they have taken the precaution to bar the way with masks and bandanas, but there, almost at the front of the queue, stands a non-conformist.
Unmasked, proud of the T Shirt he wears with the slogan Masks Off, Let’s Be Real emblazoned across his chest.
The rider does not hesitate, she wraps her wispy tentacles around his head and pulls herself sinuously into his sinus cavity and awaits his next breath to carry her deep into his unsuspecting lungs.
He remains haughty and unaware that he’s been chosen.
Inside his lungs the rider leaves some seeds and then departs on the next exhalation from which she floats languorously back to her invisible charger.
She remounts and they slowly trot past the front of store security guard and amble by the table with the hand sanitiser dispenser and paper towels, on into the fruit and vegetable section.
She rides up and down the aisles, she deliberately follows the red arrows marked out on the floor, and, once, spurs her mount to leap over the shelves straight into the midst of a family group as they gently argue about ice cream flavours.
More seeds are sown and eventually the rider leaves for pastures new.
She spurs her invisible horse down to Aldi.
Another hotspot, more human receptacles, the breeding goes on.
Meanwhile other riders await starter’s orders in a variety of situations.
Waves lap gently, waiting for the inevitable rollers to break on winter shores.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 27th August 2020.

HEAR SKYLARKS SING

Soon your tower gonna fall
I heard your whippoorwill call
Shreiked in the middle of night
Now it’s time to put things right.
You tell lies the easy way
Like Jimmy McGill they say
Two hours on make up and hair
Spread snake oil everywhere.
Better take off your golf shoes
Listen to reckoning news
Go downtown and take a look
Put away Goebbels playbook.
Young folks are your nemesis
They can’t stand your wind and piss
Your shallow state is not free,
Hang you from Joshua tree
Pittsburgh rusts on in the rain
We won’t hear your voice again
Whimper beyond your last scream
As we end your bad daydream
People on the streets will jive
After the fall of four five.
Once more hope anew we’ll bring
Then we will hear skylarks sing.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 24th August 2020.

INFLATABLE KAYAKS AND SUNSEEKERS

Two young refugees paddle a kayak,
Watch as the flycatchers circle this craft
Not a high spec sea going pro kayak
Able to cross over English Channel
Only a cheap inflatable kayak
For recreation in pool or still lake.
Only a faux imitation kayak.
For two to try and paddle such a craft
From Calais to England is sheer folly
Embarked out of utter desperation
Resulting from unjust situation.
One boy drowned the other demoralised
Meanwhile millionaire British bankers
Circle the globe in super yacht Sunseekers
Fifty four metre luxury cruisers
Tell me, where’s the fucking justice?…..
Where?…..
Where?
Human Rights?
What are they?

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 24th August 2020.

EAGLES FLY NO MORE

A Welsh golden eagle dies in the hills,
Student high fliers well know how this feels,
Llywodraeth have failed to act fast enough,
No wonder young voters will cut up rough.
Demise of justice, first ministers fault,
Education system not worth its salt.
Meanwhile, on his jollys, Johnson’s away,
So nobody knows what he’s got to say.
The Brexiteer Reich grinds close to it’s end,
Cummings events? Dear god, heaven forfend.
Control slips away, they go round the bend,
It’s all got too much for this lot to mend.
Whilst bailed MP deletes his twitter feed
Pandemic chaos is too hard to read.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th August 2020.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th August 2020.

RANDIAN KLEPTOFAILURE

The special relationship between kleptocratic assassins who cannot see beyond the maintenance of the corner that the ultra wealthy have painted themselves into, has created the condition of misery for millions. The turn of the millennium policies that wholeheartedly embraced globalisation jointly espoused by neo liberal politicians has dragged us into the maelstrom of rapid decline in manufacturing, public service provision, infrastructural repair, and the welfare of social structures. This is not some fictional ramble along a bramble choked coastal path that we can easily turn back from and go back home to the comfort of tea and cucumber sandwiches enjoyed in the rose tinted past we are encouraged to think we relished in the make believe idyll of the post second world war years. This is a full throttle roar along a Randian dragstrip, paved with the failure of individualism, exposed as a dystopian nightmare by the paucity of intellect, and will, now so clearly revealed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when the major capitalist economies transmogrified from being democracies into kleptocracies, perhaps behind the scenes there has always been a certain amount of brown paper envelopes filled with public cash being transferred into the bank accounts of senior politicians and their families and friends but surely never has it been quite so blatantly obvious. The handing over of more than a hundred million pounds for the supply of faulty facemasks to a company with no previous experience in PPE is treated as a mild mistake by the media. Had this been a Labour administration the right wing monolith that passes for a free press in this country would have been howling from the rooftops. As it is parliament is in recess, the new normal is in full swing, confusion rules, panicked residents in coastal and rural areas are fearful of the much trumpeted second wave as people flood in for good old fashioned staycations. Denial by groups of anti vaxers who terrorise shop workers as they try to do their best to implement ever changing rules and guidelines demonstrates clearly that the New Normal is a place where the wafer thin veneer of civilisation has given way to barbarism overseen by leaders who wallow in decadence. Winter is coming and the kleptocracy shows no sign of slowing down, I try not to dream of a no deal Brexit. Unfortunately there is no where to run to. In these circumstances lock down is the only haven of safety.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 13th August 2020

BROKEN FAN

Today there was so much shit in the air,
That old fan finally gave up the ghost.
Careerist lawyers have all blown a fuse,
Now their shenanigans are in the news.
Stand by my window, look up at the stars,
Focus on Mars, try to collect my thoughts,
Is this the moment for left versus right,
To smash socialism inside the courts?
Parliament’s empty of popinjays,
They have all gone home for their holidays.
BBC scrabbles round for bones to gnaw on,
Comrades stand firm now, there is a war on.
All the lost jobs, through Covid and Brexit?
Yesterday’s chips and nobody gets it.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 1.00 AM 25th July 2020.

SPORADICITY

Here come sporadical lockdowns,
The latest order of the day,
Leicester one day, your place the next.
What powers are needed for this?
Are there any sporadic apps?
Or are these just the random thoughts
Dreamed by wily spad conjurers
Who have to give their ministers
A semblance of something to say
In order to confirm that they,
In their wisdom, actually
Do something, or do anything.
In the vague hope that chaos theory
Will somehow come to our rescue,
These dark prestidigitators
Foist their sleights of hand on us all
Daily. As media trumpets
Blare out latest tossed off press release,
Funded by magic money trees
We all slither down on our knees,
Smeared and mired in Tory sleaze.
Wild campers pitch tents everywhere
Furloughed workers stand down and stare,
Weeks go by as the deadline nears,
All are filled with sporadic fears
Somebody said six million,
That’s just a random estimate.
No-one really knows how many
Will draw universal credit,
Welcome to Sporadicity.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 20th July 2020

MAGICAL INEXACTITUDES

Revisit the seventeenth century
Hang Abracadabra outside your house
Invent new magical spells for our times,
Boriscadaboris might do the trick.
Sniff nosegays, dance Ring-a-ring-a-roses.
Judges try cases in nightingale courts,
Up on Blackheath soon football will restart,
Witness the show world versus the real world.
Amulets and incantations abound,
Rat flea Covid deniers run around
Through shopping malls and half filled bierkellers
They utter naive cabalistic charms,
“Let’s take control of the invisible,
Slow down, push down, control, don’t hang about,
Roll out the Nuclear lock-down option.”
Bring on magical inexactitudes.
Well, whatever we do, just don’t tell the truth,
Get back to work, we do not need real proof.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, Sunday 19th July 2020.

WEST SIDE LIVING DEAD

Now we watch as West Side Story
Becomes Night of the Living Dead
There’s no time for Morning Glory
Not since Sars got inside our head
We stand masked up at the bus stop,
Somehow still find the time to queue,
Before we shuffle to that shop
Where police serve the people’s stew.
Covid bulletins are long gone
The MPs don’t know what to do,
The whole world hums funeral songs
This corona ain’t fucking flu
At start of end of first lock down
We bathed in the light of false dawn
Virus deniers yelled cross town
We’re scam victims of fake news porn
Second waves crash on urban beach
Tsunami floods each chicken shed,
No more teachers are left to teach,
We’re now the West Side Living Dead.

Half past five in the red bedroom, 15th July 2020.

BLOW WHISTLE BLOW

Blow those whistles louder,
Before they come for you,
Let not them stuff your gob
With gold to shut you up.
Shout it from the rooftops,
Tell us all that you know,
If you’ve got the emails,
Flood them to the net.
Copies of the contracts?
Tweet them from dawn to dusk.
Write truth in your memoir,
Spill the beans with gusto.
Bent ministers and spads?
Please kick them where it hurts.
Time to clean the stables,
Flush all the crooks away,
Throw them to the lions,
Cummings and baby Gove,
Let’s take them down today!

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Saturday 11th July.

WE WANT FRIES WITH OUR MEAL DEAL.

Steer Kharma, forensick, at despatch box,
Mewls as Haystacks gang shoots fox after fox.
Cummings has stolen all Jeremy’s clothes,
To wave them beneath New New Labour’s nose.
Forests of money trees bloom at the bank,
Quantitavely eased with clink and clank.
Billions of pounds are drawn at a stroke,
Millions of workers now left for broke.
Advisory rules now go up in smoke,
Health ministers stats now called out a joke.
The track and trace app? A pig in a poke,
Changes in benefits soon to revoke,
Dole queues grow longer, this mess is severe,
Still, grab a meal deal, don’t say it’s austere.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Friday 10th July 2020

WHO WANTS TO BE A BLAIRITE MILLIONAIRE?

Who wants to be a Blairite millionaire?
Exploit Labour voters without a care.
Denigrate socialists everywhere,
Start needless wars, cultivate silly hair.
Lord Blunkett spouts tosh on Radio four,
Whilst our Rebecca is wheeled out the door,
Mandelson unsheaths his back stab once more,
New new Labour now shits over house floor.
In Gaza families quiver in fear,
As the keys to their houses are stolen,
Some of us shudder as we shed a tear,
The future does not look quite so golden.
Pander to petrolhead racist bullies,
Electable in post Jezza woolies?

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 8th July 2020

BUCKSTOP

Please tell us where the buck stops, if you can.
The powerful deny it is their man.
Whenever there’s a crisis it’s the same.
Politicians will never take the blame.
Haystack bonce points to owners of care homes,
These shitehawks from Westminster catacombs,
Irresponsible power at the top,
However can we make false spinning stop?
Pass the blame, fend off shame, guilt trip others,
It will be our fault, sisters and brothers.
No one’s job is safe, the walls tumble down,
Once again we turn our gaze to the crown,
TV and Radio stand complicit,
Funny how the bucks never stop, innit?

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, Monday 6th July 2020

LABOUR CANNOT HURT ME ANYMORE

My Labour Party membership is at an end.
I decided to put down my thoughts on my Labour Party Membership in 2020. It is important to say that in 2003 I resigned from the Labour Party over the decision by Tony Blair to take Britain into illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the following years I involved myself in the activities of the anti-war movement. It was not when Jeremy Corbyn was put forward as a leadership candidate that I decided to rejoin the Labour Party, rather I rejoined the party to oppose the election of David Miliband as leader and the continuation of neo liberalism in the higher echalons of the party, I rejoined to vote for Ed Miliband.
Currently I still hold a membership card, indeed I am also the elected Chairperson of Ceredigion Constituency Labour Party. Since I joined I have paid close attention to political events inside and outside the Party. As a left wing socialist I was delighted when Jeremy Corbyn became the leader and the membership set to and produced the impetus for the 2017 election manifesto. Despite the actions of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, both in launching the failed leadership bid and consistently working against the wishes of the membership the party almost won the 2017 general election. At that time I knew there were some problems in the Party administration but I put that down to ineptitude during a period of great change. Having read the leaked report on anti-Semitism I now realise that I was wrong. Paid workers in the General Secretary’s office alongside large numbers of the PLP systematically worked to nullify my and tens of thousands of party members efforts to bring about a Labour victory. Reading this report is a sickening experience, but those who haven’t read it are now disbarred from having sight of it. Since reading it and also watching the party slowly move away from socialism under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer I have become increasingly uncomfortable. The introduction of a range of decisions designed to further undermine and smear my good friend and comrade Jeremy Corbyn has been difficult to take. All around me good comrades from across the whole of Britain have already left the party. Other good comrades still in the party are saying stay and fight, don’t leave because that’s what Starmer wants you to do, stay and hold the line, we can still get the manifesto policies implemented, unity is strength, and other such epithets. Some say the only way to defeat the Tories is to stay in the Labour Party, it’s the only show in town. To all these pleadings I have been struggling internally to dampen down the pain I feel following the defeat in the 2019 General Election. I tried to stay staunch, working alongside my excellent comrades on the CLP Executive Committee here in Ceredigion.

I did believe that we were on the road to building a truly significant local alternative social, economic, and community development strategy for the people of Ceredigion.
Recent events within the the Labour Party heirarchy have dented and now, finally smashed my belief to smithereens. It isn’t just the decision to sack Rebecca Long Bailey on spurious charges of anti-Semitism, though that is a disgraceful enough episode, nor is it the fact that it is impossible to have any political influence in the decision making process of the Labour Party due to the pandemic lock-down, nor the latest attack on left wing members by Swansea MP Nia Griffiths where she outrageously accuses all comrades who have supported RLB of being anti-semites. It took a conversation with a dear friend of mine to make me stand back and look dispassionately at what I really feel about my ongoing membership.
All the blandishments from different sections to stay and fight actually feel painful to me. As if, to paraphrase my friend, I am being blackmailed into staying in an abusive relationship. Tommy Cooper used to tell a joke about a man who goes in to see his doctor and says “Doctor, every time I go like this it hurts.” to which the doctor replies, “Don’t go like that.”. I have always believed that if you are doing something that hurts you should stop doing it.
Being in the Labour Party has become too painful to bear so now is the time to stop hurting myself. I have no respect for the leadership, or belief in their strategies or actions. My relationship with The Labour Party as an organisation is over. I hereby resign.

Harry Rogers
Monday 29th June 2020.

Postscript:
Since leaving Ceredigion Labour Party I spent the whole of July and August thinking about my options. Disengaging from politics left a hole in my lufe. I attended a number of People’s Assembly Against Austerity online ZOOM meetings and became aware of Left Unity Wales. I checked out the party website, read their manifesto statements, and attended a couple of online meetings. I realised that I need to be politically engaged with like minded comrades and I joined Left Unity in September. I am so glad I did, the atmosphere here is just so much better.
Forward in solidarity to a socialist future,
Harry Rogers,
Left Unity Wales
Sunday 4th October 2020

Join Left Unity here: https://leftunity.org/

SHALL WE GO SHOPPING?

Recorded in Harriboy’s Hut.

You can go to Primark or Debenhams
You can’t go visit your dads or your mums.
Did you hear Boris’s spud headed spad
Spilling his Durham beans in the garden?
The whole country tuned in to his blather,
Together we say, “We beg your pardon?”
The things we hate most are fucking liars,
Piled high on Westminster funeral pyres.
Cornered with cabinet floor paint on hands
Drive through bluebells, oh the sheer arrogance.
The sun shone so kindly there by the lake
This then is the truth some claimed to be fake.
Get out our wallets, Covid is stopping,
So soon we can all go fucking shopping.

Harry Rogers, in the red bedroom, 26th May 2020.

PANTO ON FIRE

A nest of incestuous investors
Lies behind cloak of bombed out BJ
Hand grenade drops through Brexit pill box slit
Wounded spads analyse pin puller disguise
Desperate to find who will benefit
Us cannon fodder voters, smoke in eyes,
Watch in stunned terror as panto unfolds,
No-one shouts Look Behind You, in the wings
Waits latest parvenu, heart all a quiver
Soon, on centre stage, where he will slither,
Highwayman new shouts Stand and Deliver
Fresh spads snivel as the people shiver.
Democracy turns to patrician mauve
I really do hope it’s not Michael Gove.

Harry Rogers, in the red bedroom, Monday 25th May 2020.

CHOMSKY’S PEKINESE

Chomsky’s Dog chews papers in the background
Every now and then makes a growling sound
Naom proselytises without pause
Dog scratches purposefully with all claws
Advice for activists flows out freely
Words spoken softly yet no less steely
Offers hope for future generations
Twenty years to save the fate of nations
Wretched theives and crooks, wrecked economy
Post Covid climate, lockdown anomie,
Our world in danger, soon we will be toast,
All now take action, don’t give up the ghost.
He is compelling, get up off our knees
Shred Tory lies like Chomsky’s Pekinese.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, Pencnwcau, 24th May 2020

SHITTY LINGO

Afflicted with addiction to power
Vote with nasty right in new concensus
Such news disconcerts me by the hour
Perhaps Blairites are non compos mentis
Whoever can reason for such madness?
Strange bedfellows, bold enough to say
Keep asylum seekers filled with sadness,
Pander to the basest racist today
Clap now for points based immigrant carers
Phase out free movement, enlist unemployed,
Conscript the workshy, we hear the bearers
Of Brexit promise to the overjoyed.
My radio sails through open window
Enough of shitty BBC lingo.

Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, Aberbanc 19th May 2020.

SUSPENDED ALIENATION

SUSPENDED ALIENATION

Capitalism hangs by a thin thread

Sways above piles of Covid nineteen dead

Desperation fills petty bourgeois eyes

New liberals fall on sharp pointed lies

Westminster idlers caught with trousers down

Call clarity not claret for blond clown.

Watch wartime ghosts conga along your street

But grandchildren you’re not allowed to meet

Spirit of the blitz stirred into your spritz

Union Jack clad Brits get on fucking tits

Try to be normal is as normal does

Listen intently to bumble bees buzz

Think back to good times, so simply smashing

Close off your mind, economy’s crashing.

Harry Rogers, Pencnwau Aberbanc, 12th May 2020.

GASLIGHT GOING ON…..

Pangolin scales fall away from our eyes

Wuhan bat blood? More spewed out alibis

Spread wide by buffoons to fill us with fear

Man made or not, too late it’s fucking here.

Warmonger language, heroes and fighters,

Troops on the front line, phony gaslighters,

Furlough is shrinking, as crops fill with mould,

Promised land army locked down on the dole.

Old habits long gone will never come back

Crumbling pubs boarded up, painted black,

New York dispossessed ride subway all night,

On empty beaches? No one there to fight.

Crass false flags flutter from ten Downing Street,

Left forces gather in multi ZOOM meets.

Harry Rogers, Pencnwcau, Aberbanc, 7th May 2020.

PAST THE PEAK?

Teifi, afternoon, flash of bankside blue
Kingfisher searches elver wriggles new
Beneath Henllan bridge otter, trout in paws,
Crunches his lunch whilst Senedd makes bad laws
Guided by science there will be no tests
Crashed trees block the falls, robins fill their nests
Nurses in London block Westminster bridge
Vulnerable kids stare at empty fridge
Birds sing louder, the skies are bluest blues
I burst into tears at the newest news
Tenants evicted as they lose their work
MPs and the spads won’t give up their perks
Sun sets brighter now, we are past the peak
So Boris tells us, when he deigns to speak.

Harry Rogers, Mayday in the red bedroom, 2020.

Oh The Things That We Do

Go down to Creek Road, get drunk on free beer,
Walk through Greenwich Park, shoot a fucking deer
Venison’s better than cheap minced beef pies
Share surplus with neighbours, what a surprise

Oh the things that we do when we are poor

Take rod to river, hook stale bread on,
Cast into slipstream, then pull out a swan
Play bird as it flys up high in the sky
Then kill it and pluck it, try not to cry,
To roast in oven cut swan into four
One more of the things we do, when we’re poor.

Go down Tesco’s fill up trolley and pay
Go out to friends car, stack shopping away
Go round aisles again load exactly the same,
Plus one pack of brillo, forgotten, you claim
With first bill in hand you’ve already paid
Thus shopping’s half price, good game that, well played.

In desperate days we ignore the law,
Oh the things that are done when we are poor.

Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 23rd April, 2020.

FIN DE SEICLE

Today I watch a video report of fucking Covid-19 denying murderers in California on the way to their personal raptures who have forgotten their own sky god commandment, thou shalt not kill. Idiots. I am angry.

Meanwhile in Hackney a thirty year old Sri Lankan single mother incinerates herself in the back garden during lockdown. I am crying.

Elsewhere a young English father is locked down with his wife and son unable to take him to McDonald’s for his fourth birthday party. He tranforms his kitchen into a mock up drive through take away with himself in a YouTube video on the tv in their kitchen. The child is happy with french fries and chicken nuggets. His wife loves the ingenuity of it all. I laugh and cry at the same time.

I feel twitchy, never has there been such social fragility in all my 72 years. The Brexit talks pale into insignificance as the rise of populism grows daily. Italy is on the brink of leaving the EU. You can smell something ancient in the phrases that are bandied about. Phrases such as ” It’s the media that’s the cancer, all their news is fake.” and “All the politicians are useless, all they do is lie.” and “China is to blame.” Even the middle classes are dazed and confused by the consequences of the lockdown as their jobs also disappear and they slip into negative equity. I have read about a similar situation in my collection of 1930s left book club publications. I lie in my bed unable to sleep easy.

Still, the sun is shining this week, yesterday it was the same temperature in Antarctica as it was in Los Angeles………

Harry Rogers, Locked down in Aberbanc, 21-04-2020

LECTERN VICISSITUDES.

I have been sat in front of our TV as 24 hour coverage of this pandemic unfolds for weeks now. I am over 72 years old, I am not supposed to go out unless it’s absolutely crucial. At first I watched all the bulletins as the prime minister and a variety of high faluting experts stood at lecterns flanked by carefully folded Union Jack flags with the white background and red cross of St George clearly and deliberately to the fore. The early strategy where herd immunity was considered to be the way forward, where every bulletin encouraged everyone to wash their hands every time they touched something but otherwise everything carried on as normal, the roads were full, the trains were full, the airports were full, sports venues, bars, gigs, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, political meetings, all functioned as ever. This laissez-faire approach was allowed to continue for weeks despite the fact that the government knew in advance that the country could not handle a pandemic such as this because it had participated in an emergency planning exercise, Operation Cygnus, which spelled out exactly what would happen in the event of a virulent respiratory virus running rampant through the world. One question sticks in my mind, if the government knew that the exercise showed that the NHS was under staffed, under equipped and under resourced, why did they not address these issues? What is the point of spending millions of pounds on full blown civil and war emergency planning exercises if you’re not going to take any notice whatsoever of the advice given from the plethora of front line experts, strategists, and senior civil servants involved? And yet, despite all the delay, as the daily death figures rise exponentially, as the economy falls into a slough of despond, as draconian measures curtail freedom of movement, somehow large numbers of people put their faith in the newly elected prime minister, one Boris Johnson. This man who eventually encouraged us to adopt social distancing, made us aware of the dangers of shaking hands with anyone outside of your in house family, and then promptly ignored his own advice, shook hands with all and sundry including a wardful of Covid 19 sufferers and finished up in ICU narrowly avoiding his own demise, some people believe that he is some kind of hero of the people. How can this be the case? He had been infectious for some considerable time and yet continued to bustle around in Westminster and elsewhere, in all kinds of meetings where he will have put untold numbers of staff, colleagues, acquaintances and contacts into harms way. A monumental case of don’t do what I do, do as I say. It’s unacceptable behaviour of anyone, let alone the Prime Minister. The daily broadcast with the Trump style flag frame moved further backwards, where substitutes run through the same sets of statistics that are designed to show how well the country has carried out the government strategy continue unabated. Ministers come and go and continuously state the obvious, the roads are empty, the people, on the whole, obey the rules, all is hunky dory as long as we remain in lockdown. And yet, and yet, PPE levels are disastrously low in hospitals and care facilities, meanwhile health ministers say the government response is phenomenal. Health workers are told not to use equipment unnecessarily. Economic forecasts say that the crisis we are heading into is massive. The number of unemployed in Britain is set to head North of three and a half million. The current universal credit system that penalises those people who have fallen into poverty is not going to be accepted as sufficient by people who have done nothing except lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Current levels of benefit will not meet family commitments. Only a government prepared to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion by the richest could address this future catastrophe. The country currently is being run in a totally undemocratic way without adequate parliamentary scrutiny. These are scary times and we now appear to be trapped in the middle of a classic Catch 22 conundrum. Stay locked down, save lives and crash the economy, or ease the lockdown, save the economy and bury a lot more people. Either way it’s a grand disaster. At first I wasn’t sure whether this was just a straight folk devils and moral panics scenario with the government and the media cooking up a false flag emergency to get the ruling class in a position to carry on austerity led business as usual. Now that the death levels here are not falling it is clear that the reality of the situation is that we have an incompetent government, unable to act in favour of saving lives because the economy and their pals in the City of London come first, above human lives. The Prime Minister is possibly going to stand down due to viral fatigue, he will likely be replaced by Raab or Gove, either of which, in my view, are strictly second division when it comes to leadership. It’s a giant deprression filled mess which only ends in tears whatever the outcome, and whenever the end of lockdown occurs. Many people won’t be here to see it, for some of those death might be a blessing in disguise. The aftermath to this ain’t going to be pretty. I’m getting older by the day, there ain’t much I can do about this shitshow. I would like to be able to drive my partner Jenny down to Llangrannog Beach for a pub lunch and a walk by the sea this summer, but the chance of such a simple pleasure looks ever more remote.

Harry Rogers, West Wales, 20th April, 2020

DREAM DIARY

Looking out through lockdown windows
The world in view is too sombre
My mind wanders to pastures new
To party times with good old friends
To singing in the Poppit dunes,
Picking those lost forgotten tunes.
Of how we’ll change the world to come
A glass half full for everyone
The gig economy we’ll shun,
Eugenicists? We’ll make them run.
Hold hands together down The Strand,
Spill wine to our favourite band,
We’ll dance together after dark
Like lovers smooching in the park
All this for future enquiry
Written now in my dream diary.

Harry Rogers, a la Chambre rouge, 2nd April 2022.

COVID PANDEMONIA

It’s bizarre to sit and watch images and words flash across the myriad of screens each of us own at this time early in the third millennium and watch with a sense of horror as the major cities of the globe descend slowly into a state of anarchic pandemonia. Each city has the potential to a greater or lesser extent to metamorphose into, what Milton named as the Capital of Hell, Pandemonium.

What sickens me the most is the realisation that there is absolutely nothing I, or for that matter you, as individuals can possibly do about it. The major news media outlets are busy trying to portray the Covid 19 pandemic as just another major news story that can be presented to the people in the same old time honoured fashion that they done since the birth of Television. However, this time the story is too big for corporatations to control. Little snippets of truth about the sombre reality of this dreadful situation are poking out and are revealed on a daily basis. The never ending howling of ambulance sirens echoing along empty streets, the conversion of skating rinks and other civic amenities into makeshift temporary morgues, the requisition of football grounds and other sports stadia and conference facilities as sites for massive health treatment and combined hospice style centres. All this clearly visible for everyone to see but once the full horror of this disease takes hold then it is right to ask the following question. For how long can the media hold the line and continue to showcase reports that, it’s true, show the level of distress the people will be suffering?

To watch as country after country pass Draconian legislation enabling them to take extreme decisions when it comes to social control is alarming and will precipitate outbursts of fear, paranoia and anger. In Europe this might be easier to control than elsewhere, and in particular the USA. At the same time as we were stocking up with pasta, lentils, rice and canned vegetables, there were queues around the block at all gunshops and purveyors of ammunition across America. With politicians in leadership positions making difficult decisions on a a daily basis the pandemic is hard enough to deal with, but to have somone that makes last minute decisions based on his gut instincts instead of listening to experts in a plethora of important fields as President of the USA is not only frightening but is also indicative of the fragility of the whole geo political system of governance.

In my view The United Nations should be convened and should take over the handling of this crisis. It is too big for crazed egoist individuals to be allowed to have control over the future wellbeing of billions of human beings through the creation of artificial states of emergency designed to prop up their own deformed political, and often corrupt, ideologies for their own gratuitous economic gain. I doubt this is going to happen until after the grisly masquerade has played out and the whole world has to clean up in the aftermath.

The plural of Pandemonium is Pandemonia. Unless there is a global approach to dealing with COVID-19 it’s quite likely we will witness the emergence of a whole swathe of cities that, for a significant period of time, will become replicas of Pandemonium, the Capital of Hell. I hope I am wrong and Trump is right when he posits a miraculously speedy recovery. Somehow though, judging by recent history, I doubt it.

Harry Rogers, March 31st 2020.

Spud Headed Spad

SPUD HEADED SPAD


A gaunt gangly spectre haunts Downing Street
This spud headed spad who speeds out the door
A Monty Python type praying mantis
Giant rucksack strapped to it’s skinny back


He runs in a John Cleese funny walk style
Away from plague infested number ten
To it’s nihilist lair to self isolate
Whilst it forces the rest to self hibernate.


The new default set to procrastinate
Journalists learn new ways to masticate
Fake four five leaches from across the pond
Key workers die in the back of beyond


The servers creak and wheeze with new data
We watch irrelevant adverts, later.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Pencnwcau, Aberbanc, March 30th 2020.

ICE RINK

Ice rink in Madrid turned into a morgue

Dublin old bill point guns and send you home

Football stadium dormitories

Spring up all around Paris, London, Rome.

Whilst Macron freaks out his Euro neighbours,

Four five locks New York into Quarantine.

Brexiteers dreaming daily of the Blitz,

Wonder when buffoons will wheel out the Queen.

Cumberland to Devon, Cornwall to Kent,

We’re told to look out for one another.

Fuck the hoarders and all those selfish gits

Who gave Covid nineteen to my brother.

Downing Street did not practice what they preach,

I’ll not watch one more propaganda speech.

Harry Rogers In the yellow room, Pencnwau, 28th March 2020.

MILLIONS OF BRAZILIANS

Millions of Brazilians
Have witnessed all these scenes before
Paliamentary pantomime
Has locked down everybody’s doors
The army ringed now around London
Stock markets fall down through the floor
There’s no knowing where this leads us
The MPs bluster on, so sure
Their nationalistic reactions
Echoed loudly on radio four
Butterfly show goes on and on
No dreamliners fly anymore
We are told it’s for our own good
For the aged, for the poor
Evoke the spirit of the blitz
Best wishes from second world war
Spout about spiritual health
Whilst televising martial law
Soon round up any dissidents
Is that what this is really for?

Harri Rogers, in the red bedroom, Pencnwau, 19th March 2020

C O V I D 19

Recorded in Harriboy’s Hut.

C O V I D 19
1 – Cover old values in dirt
2 – Career over, virtuous institutional doings
3 – Complicated oversold vast international developments
4 – Corrupt outsized voluminous imperial druglords
5 – Callous orange voterigging incorrect dirtbag
6 – Consciously order vilification intending death
7 – Call on visionary inspirational dominoes
8 – Correctly overturn Victorian inept dukedoms
9 – Constitute octagonal video introductory deals
10 – Consult outmoded vehicular inbound data
11 – Crave oxygen vial infused datura
12 – Consider overeating vegan imported Dhansak
13 – Collect Obama virtual introduction ditties
14 – Cynically obtain villain’s imperative doldrums
15 – Climb outside votive iron dormitory
16 – Crash our vituperative invisible dogsbodies
17 – Congregate onboard Venusian interstellar dreamliners
18 – Coronaviral overkill visualizes instantaneous deprivation
19 – Collapse onto virus infected deathbed

Harri Rogers, Pencnwcau, in the Yellow Room, March 11th 2020

Now See The Vengeance

Now, see the vengeance
Reaked on the many.
Gimcrack politics,
Shone up for one day,
Like fake silver plate
Polished away, through.
Truth? Justice? Honour?
These tattered flags fly
Blown on the rubbish
Tips alongside rolled up
Banknote snorting tubes
Discarded by spads
Infected deeply
With Randian lies.
Whilst they “Get IT done”
We drown on sun drenched
Flood plains developed
By slick racketeers
Who sail sunseekers
All over the globe.
Pangolin virus,
Classless, ironic,
Infects me and you
As well as the few,
Who will more likely
Stand within six feet
Of a carrier
In an airport queue,
The automatic
Democracy of
Nature in action.
Too late, all fall down,
Red in tooth and claw,
Hail natural law.

Harri Rogers
In the red bedroom
Pencnwcau, Aberbanc
28th February 2020.

The Salisbury Incident

Article by Johnny Gaunt & Harry Rogers

The Salisbury Incident

As many governments across the Western world begin to exile their Russian diplomats back east, the most fundamental questions relating to the Skripol case remain not only unanswered, but the faintest sniff of any real evidence is yet to make an appearance before the public.
There is no doubt that Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, et al, have worked hard to achieve a consensus amongst Nato and EU states, and has had some success in persuading other leaders to condemn and react to the unproven Russian involvement.
Many of these leaders, perhaps, have reasons of their own for latching on to such a flimsy agreement. France, Germany, Italy, and Holland are among a number of nations reeling from their own domestic political turbulence. Collapsing centrist parties have watched their traditional voter bases divide and file off to the left and right, as all over Europe the political polarisation hardens. Being seen to be part of a new unified front will, they hope, strengthen their domestic positions. It is a familiar response from desperate neoliberal administrations; instead of taking responsibility for the declining interest in their policies, they would rather fall back on the policy of fear in a dangerous attempt to appear ‘strong and stable’.
Manipulating fear of a common enemy of the West, brings with it certain benefits for the ruling classes. Not only does it present a superficial ‘toughness’ that leaders can exploit at home, it also makes large sections of the public easier to control and susceptible to further misinformation. Chomsky suggested: “Democratic societies can’t force people [to go to war, in this case]. Therefore, they have to control what they think.” You could also finish that sentence, “Therefore, democracy must be undermined.”
With the Skripol case we have seen the UK mass media swing into action in order to ramp up public fear, obliterate individual analysis and control the narrative of how Brits, loyal to their country, should respond. The BBC, ITN and Channel4 News outlets have each backed Theresa May’s assumptions and reactionary behaviour towards Russia. Jeremy Corbyn’s perspective, that the government needs to wait until real facts emerge about who is responsible, has been purposefully vilified and distorted by these networks, to echo George Bush’s infamous, “You’re either with us, or against us,” mentality. The BBC, for their flagship political debate programme, Newsnight, even went so far as to alter Jeremy Corbyn’s flat-cap to look more like a Russian bearskin, before pasting the doctored image onto a deep red backdrop of the Kremlin.
Heightening hysteria of a Russian threat is win-win politics for many hawkish MPs, who will gain increases in their arms industry share profits, and political leverage to turn up Defence spending. Simultaneously, the shrill is loud enough to drown out domestic criticism of such scandalous acts as cutting free school meals for a million kids from struggling families.
Of course, the main driver of much of this remains ideology. The golden rule of the British establishment has long been to stamp out any sign of socialism long before it can develop into anything meaningful; and it has done an excellent job since destroying Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto.
It has been a long 35 years for the principled socialist. But in that time, things have changed radically. The commercial scraps from military technology found their way into public homes in the form of computers around the same time. Within 10 years, the world-wide-web had organised the internet into something accessible by the new generation, for whom computers were as everyday as television. In 2005, one of this generation, began hooking up Ivy League universities to his social media software, Facebook. The use of social media data by companies such as Cambridge Analytica to subvert global democratic processes is a negative outcome of the growth of ICT. Whilst big-data is a worrying aspect of the growth in digital industry, the ongoing rush by both Google and the Chinese government to bring about the singularity in artificial intelligence, where machines are equal in intellectual ability with human beings, is even more worrying for those of us concerned about the future of militarism. We are told that there are great social benefits that flow from AI, but the thought of autonomous weaponry making decisions on who lives and dies in the many so-called theatres of war is truly scary, and no longer just the dystopian rambling of science-fiction writers.
Whatever the truth behind the Salisbury Incident, we have witnessed the UK establishment’s completely cynical exercise in ramping up public fear of war, through the demonization of a major state. This behaviour is nothing new and has been used unsparingly since the end of the second world war; however, since 2001 and the commencement of the War on Terror, this fear and war mongering has intensified and become more frequent. These are the desperate actions of an ideologically bankrupt set of inept politicians; and, they are not exclusive to the Tory Party.
However, the establishment’s persistent use of its mainstream media arm to concuss the public into consensus, appears to be losing some of its punching power. This has been in no small part due to Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent message of doing the right thing, as in this case where he urged restraint before rushing to judgement. Nevertheless, the governments in Nato, will continue to use the threat of war to justify increasing expenditure on more and more technologically sophisticated methods of arm’s length killing, mostly of the dispossessed, in countries that don’t, or seem unlikely to, conform to Western hegemonic ideology.
Prevailing facts surrounding incidents such as the Salisbury poisoning, become almost irrelevant once the narrative has been set out; the public simply needs to choose between loyalty to, or betrayal of, Britain. Manipulation of public opinion in this way will no doubt carry on until it is either fully exposed for what it is, or until a genuine anti-war government can turn us away from the ‘unavoidable’ conflicts we are purposefully being steered towards.
Johnny Charles and Harry Rogers are both members of the Labour Party and Ceredigion Stop the War. On 28th April, the panel event, “Why the UK needs a new Foreign Policy” will take place in Aberystwyth, and will feature talks from Mark Serwotka, Lindsey German, Adam Joannes & Ayla Gol.

Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (part 1)

 

This is a ‘must watch’. Explains the mechanism seen across London and other big cities of social cleansing. It’s the same one as is being used on the NHS, education, Fire service, police etc…. run them down, privatise and sell off the land. It’s the dispossession of high value land from low income people. It’s […]

via Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (Part 1) — Think Left

LILITH LIES DEAD

 

Lilith Lies Dead

They shot Lilith today,
Because she ran away,
They ended her short taste of freedom.

With her beauty so proud,
We should all cry out loud.
Tourist zoos? Do we really need them?

All those fat bureaucrats
In their murderers hats,
Should we continue to feed them?

There was no need to kill,
A ground up sleeping pill,
Would save her from permanent sleepdom

Now Lilith lies dead
With blood on her head,
Our tears are all shed,
Whilst we lie abed
I am seeing red,
They shot Lilith dead.

Harri Rogers, In bed at Pencnwcau, 11th November 2017

PEACEMAKER

Seeing Red LogoPeacemaker

Cowboy movies in the fifties
Showed us Colt forty five power,
Flickering up on silver screen,
Long barrelled pistols every hour.
The lawmen and the cavalry,
In the street and behind the rocks,
Killing bad guys and Indians,
Using spitfire substitute cocks.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker.

Went to the toy shop with my mum,
At Christmas nineteen fifty five,
To choose my holster and my gun,
I was the Cimarron Kid live.
The outlaws used peacemakers too,
The anti hero movie stars,
With their chiselled looks and cars,
Showed us all how to kill a man,
Upfront guns, hole and corner plan.

I chose it
Peacemaker,
My silver
Peacemaker,
My cowboy
Peacemaker
Gun.

A toy to you but real to me
This is what movies did you see,
Identified an enemy,
Shot them in Technicolor dreams,
False heroes on cinema screens,
Killing while Geronimo screams,
Long before truth showed wounded knee,
Those lies behind land of the free.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker,
Life taker
Peacemaker,
Colt four five
Peacemaker,
Las Vegas
Peacemaker?

Harri Rogers, In the hut, Aberbanc, 3/10/2017.

Poem – Centre Ground

Centre Ground

The wild buddleia and the straggly old man’s beard,
Running rampant on the waste ground by the railway.
Can this be the place that they call the centre ground?
Where democracy and truth die between the weeds?
Where the bindweed strangles freedom in the sunshine?
Where the brambles riot as nettles choke the land?
Honest folk are liars made by giant hogweed,
Sown by fake news vendors that have no hearts to bleed.
Surely now we understand, this thing centre ground,
Where nothing good or wholesome ever shall be found.

On the train to Reading 11th August 2017.

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri
Drone manufacturers rub their hands with glee
Their pals the police chiefs and all the military
Wait with bated breath for each new insurgency

There at the lectern next to some flowering plant
Politicians stand and lie just like Charley’s Aunt
All those perfect promises move from shall to shan’t
Funny how Yes We Can turned into No You Can’t!

Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th August 2014

Radio Activist Weekly Almanac Special Mayday Edition.

This is a special Mayday edition of the Radio Activist Weekly Almanac with music from Blind Willie McTell, and Memphis Minnie, an interview with Red Poets of Wales founder member Mike Jenkins, a Tony Benn speech outside the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth in 2003, and part one and two of an historic radio show from the original Radio Activist himself, Studs Terkel, called Bound For Glory The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie.

Radio Activist Logo 2

The Legacy Of Tony Benn – People’s Parliament audio clip

On Wednesday 9th of April at 7.00pm I attended a packed out committee room 14 in the House of Commons for the People’s Parliament meeting on the legacy of Tony Benn and what an inspiring meeting it was. John McDonnel and the five speakers on the platform gave very poignant and interesting accounts of their recollections of working alongside Tony Benn inside the house of Commons and also in the many campaigns and struggles both within Britain and across the world. It was clear that Tony was a tireless campaigner on a wide range of socialist issues right up until the very end of his 88 years. It is difficult to name another left wing activist in the British labour movement that put in as many hours, or travelled as many miles as he did. It is clear that he not only spent a lot of time campaigning but also spent a lot of time researching issues and talking to people in the field and on the shop floor. His pursuit of democracy and belief in the people’s ability to take decisions for themselves is very far removed from the realm of the majority of mainstream politicians for whom the electorate are just a vehicle into the corridors of power rather than a resource to be listened to and consulted on the myriad of issues that affect their everyday lives. It is remarkable that he remained in the Labour Party throughout the years of New Labour and the inexorable march towards right wing corporatist government, privatisation and war mongering. Many activists, including myself, have long since torn up their party cards out of feelings of sheer frustration and, it has to be said, total disgust at the move towards being a right of centre party. And yet, despite the fact that he retained his loyalty to the labour party all his life, whenever he appeared on a platform at a demo, on a picket line or at a public meeting, the fondness and esteem within which has he was held by all sections of the movement was clearly palpable. Quite simply Tony Benn was not only a tireless and hard working socialist he was truly inspirational, unwavering in his belief that a better world where peace, equality and justice for all is the norm. As everyone has said his death is a great loss to the cause of socialism, however, whilst the great man may be gone his ideas live on. It is encumbant on those of us who agree with his ideas to pick them up and run with them and when we are asked why we do so the reply must surely be, as he would have wanted, Tony Benn Encouraged Us.

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL – A lyric for Bob and Tony

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL

ALL THE GOOD HEROES ARE DYING
ALL OF THEIR COMRADES CRYING
RANDIAN JOURNOS PROCLAIMING
THE END OF AN ERA OF FAILING

I DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY
JUST BECAUSE THEIR BODY HAS GONE
EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO SAY
ALL THEIR DREAMS AND IDEAS LIVE ON

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY

OUR STANDARDS ARE STILL FLYING
OUR TEARS ARE SLOWLY DRYING
WE’RE OUT THERE ON THE STREETS
WE LEARN FROM OLD DEFEATS

WE ALL WANT SOMETHING NEW
IT’S COMING IF WE ALL STAND TOGETHER
WE ALL KNOW WHAT TO DO
IT’S REALLY OURS WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER

MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I AIN’T GOING AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I’M ACTIVE EVERY DAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
AIN’T GONNA GO AWAY
MY GLASS IS STILL HALF FULL
I FIGHT ON EVERY DAY
FIGHT ON EVERY DAY

Harry Rogers
24/03/2014
Aberbanc

Drone Warfare – From Wales To Gaza – Conference Speech – Cardiff 25th May 2013

SPEECH

Good afternoon comrades, friends and colleagues. Can I start by saying how pleased I am to see this conference taking place and can I take this opportunity to thank the organisers for inviting me to share the platform today with such distinguished friends. My name is Harry Rogers and I live in West Wales about 12 miles from Aberporth where the MOD have been carrying out their tests on the Watchkeeper Drone.

I am sixty five years old and I almost never got born because of a UAV. My mother and my aunt were in the back bedroom over the top of my grandfathers public house in West Croydon in June 1944 just ten seconds before one of Hitler’s V1 doodle bug flying bomb drones blew the back of the pub clean off. Ten seconds earlier and I would never have been born. My point here is that UAVs have been around a long time and the Watchkeeper is nothing really new in concept. A lot has been written about this piece of almost obsolete already Army surveillance equipment so I won’t add to the reams you can find on the internet.

I am a member of a local peace group called Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice and we formed in 2003 as a response to the decision by Bush and Blair to attack Iraq. During the time we have been involved in a number of campaigns including the campaign against the development of Cardigan Airport as a testing ground for UAVs, also the proposed introduction of an unmanned aerial systems technology hub at Parc Aberporth and also the management buyout of the MOD missile testing base at Parcllyn by QinetiQ.

There is much I could talk to you about concerning the history of this campaigning but that is not why I agreed to come here today. The past is something that we can learn from but not something that we can undo. My speech today is primarily about the future of drone technology and why it is vital that we all start to pay attention to what the research and development bods at MIT and DARPA, QinetiQ and BAE systems are cooking up for the future. I make no apologies for basing most of this speech on a report made by the RAF in October 2012 about the future of Unmanned Aerial Systems to the Government.

I am interested in ensuring that we all go away from today with an understanding that the big issue we face in terms of UAV development is that of Autonomy. The next generation of drones may well be able to think for themselves and act autonomously, that is without any human in the loop as the Military say. That means flying machines that can make their own decisions in search and destroy operations based on a set of algorithmic decisions pre-determined by human masters who may or may not be benign in their intentions.

Sceptics amongst you are already muttering balderdash and hokum, science fantasy and other such epithets. Well virtually all of the rest of the speech will, I hope, convince you otherwise.

* The RAF say that “As UAVs are developed with increasing levels of automation it will reduce the requirement for operator training in the more traditional piloting skills of flying the aircraft, such as landing and takeoff, and focus the training more towards operating the payload.”

* The MOD and in particular the RAF are discussing issues about the levels of automation they are comfortable with. They recognise that highly automated weaponry systems are unlikely to be able to apply judgement and pragmatism to “situations”. They are worried about legal and ethical considerations that occur when there are no human beings in the loop leading to loss of life or injury.

* The future is one where outdated weaponry will give way to what they term “precision weaponry” and where the battle-spaces increasingly involve unmanned and cyber operations.

* Autonomous weapon systems are capable of understanding higher level intent and direction, and perception of their environment, leading to the ability to take appropriate actions to bring about desired states. To be able to decide on a course of action, from a number of alternatives, without depending on human oversight and control. Although the overall activity of an autonomous unmanned aircraft will be predictable, individual actions may not be.

* Low intensity tasks for Autonomous UAVs requiring minimal human oversight rather than continous control include the following:-

– pattern of life surveillance tasks over fixed locations or in support of littoral maneuver

– maintenance of standing anti-submarine warfare or anti-surface warfare radar barriers

– counter-piracy tasks; monitoring of arrays of sonobuoys or other sensors

– electronic warfare tasks

– acting as a communications relay

– air-to-air refueling tankers

* The RAF consider the use of UAVs ideal in hostile environments for a manned aircraft or it’s crew in operations related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. Tasks include the following:-

– Could carry sensors for local, tactical or global use

– systems easily sacrificed in a safe area after data gathering

– use in situations where fire and smoke make human activity hazardous

* In risky situations UAV systems can be used instead of aircrew or soldiers where the threat of ground to air action is high and also where it is necessary to suppress an integrated air defence system.

– multiple cheap UAVs used sacrificially to swamp detection and command and control systems

– to encourage enemies to fire large numbers of missiles

– observe engagement tactics and transmit data back to intelligence collators

– convey tactical supplies

– sweep for improvised explosive devices

* Of course UAVs are used in scenarios which are highly distasteful and we all know that they are used for surveillance and targeting, and carrying out, weapon attacks inside the borders of countries such as Pakistan and Palestine. All of this is currently done with “man in the loop” systems but it will not be too long before drones are flying with what the RAF says is ” the ability to independently locate and attack mobile targets, with appropriate proportionality and discrimination.”

The RAF are worried about issues relating to the Geneva Convention with regard to autonomous UAV development and usage and they say that “compliance will become increasingly challenging as systems become more automated. In particular, if we wish to allow systems to make independent decisions without human intervention, some considerable work will be required to show how such systems will operate legally.”

Already there are automated weapons systems in use in Afghanistan, for example, the Phalanx and Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) systems used because there is deemed to be insufficient time for human response to counter incoming fire.

Future autonomous UAV systems will have to adhere to legal requirements and civilian airspace regulations. This will require political involvement in getting the necessary changes made. In my view it is absolutely vital that politicians understand the issues clearly and concisely because once made it will mean that there is going to be a lot of military and civilian hardware flying about in the airspace without any human interface whatsoever. The RAF say “As systems become increasingly automated, they will require decreasing human intervention between the issuing of mission-level orders and their execution.” and they go further saying “It would be only a small technical step to enable an unmanned aircraft to fire a weapon based solely on its own sensors, or shared information, and without recourse to higher, human authority.” They also discuss the timescale for the introduction of increased autonomy via Artificial Intelligence, saying ;- ” Estimates of when artificial intelligence will be achieved (as opposed to complex and clever automated systems) vary, but the consensus seems to lie between more than 5 years and less than 15 years.” Their words, not mine.

Currently the MOD “has no intention to develop systems that operate without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain, but it is looking to increase levels of automation where this will make systems more effective.”

The RAF are clearly worried about the direction all this is going in and they say “As technology matures and new capabilities appear, policy-makers will need to be aware of the potential legal issues and take advice at a very early stage of any new system’s procurement cycle.” I believe this highlights a degree of paranoia on the part of the RAF vis a vis it’s own future role.

Not only are the RAF exercised about legal dilemmas. Ethics and morals related questions also are in their thoughts such as when, where and how automated and autonomous unmanned systems may be used. This applies not just to the use of drones of course but also to all other forms of weaponry in any environment. Will all future wars be fought remotely with little or no loss of friendly or military personnel? Will future conflicts be waged between increasingly complex unmanned systems?

In my view a problem that we face today is that the accountants have control of governments and the most expensive resource used in public services is human beings. So autonomy offers massive savings in manpower and support for that manpower both before and after conflict occurs. As artificial Intelligence comes on board we are likely to see more complicated tasks arising that are beyond the capability of humans to deal with due to speed, complexity and information overload. No doubt some of you are probably suffering that now, but I only have a bit more to say before I will take questions, so bear with me.

The RAF and many others in the field are grappling with issues such as whether it is possible to develop AI that has the capability to focus on the unique (at the moment) ability that a human being has to bring empathy and morality to complex decision-making. The RAF say “To a robotic system, a school bus and a tank are the same – merely algorithms in a programme – and the engagement of a target is a singular action; the robot has no sense of ends, ways and means, no need to know why it is engaging a target. There is no recourse to human judgement in an engagement, no sense of a higher purpose on which to make decisions, and no ability to imagine (and therefore take responsibility for) repercussions of action taken.”

So we need to pose the following questions to our politicians:-

Are they happy to allow Autonomous Robots to take on the responsibility of choosing which of us lives and which of us dies?

Can an autonomous robot be considered capable of waging ethical and legal warfare?

Can software and hardware accidents be distinguished from war crimes when robots go wrong?

Is it possible to establish clear policies on acceptable machine behavior?

How far out of the bottle is the technological genie?

Are we doomed to a Terminator style future?

Is it possible have a sensible debate about technological development anymore?

Do we really want Artificial Intelligence with a greater capacity to think than a human to be in any way involved in future theatres of War?

 

The RAF pose very important questions when they ask the following:-

– Do military planners and politicians understand the full implications of the systems they are currently tasking and those they hope to procure?

– In the current economic climate, who will decide the best balance between keeping existing equipment and personnel, or whether to give these up to fund new unmanned systems?

– Do we understand even the basic implications of such decisions for the associated defence lines of development?

– Crucially, do we have a strategic level of understanding as to how we will deliver the considerable number of changes that will need to be made to existing policy, concepts, doctrine, and force structures?

* Finally we must expect to see governments bringing in changes to the law of armed conflict in order to accommodate the use of autonomous UAS and we must shout our opposition to this from the rooftops.

So there we have it friends, there is a lot for us to consider when we look into the issue of drones. We have to view all of this in an holistic way. That is we must not just lumber along from one demo to the next thinking only about the impact of the current use of drone warfare, terrible though that is. It is absolutely vital that we start to consider what future implications there are for the maintenance and development of basic human rights. We must also consider what the use of technology means in terms of social control measures such as we see the beginnings of in Gaza and elsewhere. I believe we are at, if not all ready passed, a dangerous turning point in the way we occupy this planet.

It is incumbent on us all to make a fuss about these issues if we want a planet where Human Rights are protected. If we don’t then we condemn the world to a dystopian future where all kinds of as yet un-thought of technology is used to maintain the position of a global elite above and beyond that of the majority of the people. The choice is ours, make a ruckus or bury our head in the sand and wait for the worst possible sci-fi future to engulf us all.

Thanks for listening, I’m happy to take questions and take part in debate.

Harry Rogers 24/05/2013

Drones at Aberporth demo 18/05/2013 – report.

On Saturday afternoon last week I attended a small demonstration organised by local Quakers outside the MOD base in Parclyn just above Aberporth.  There were only ten activists there on this cloudy day plus one desultory police car parked 5o yards down the road.

MOD Aberporth is renowned for having been one of the main missile testing ranges in Britain. However it has effectively been privatised and, following a management buyout, it is now run by QinetiQ. QinetiQ is a research company with many links to the MOD.

There have have been a number of arms sales fairs held at Parc Aberporth, in particular focused on UAVs and UCAVs.  Since 2010 the base has been involved in the testing of the Watchkeeper drone (developed by Thales) for the British Army flying out of West Wales airport. Members of Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice and other local resident groups have been monitoring the ongoing drone development at Aberporth for the last ten years.

It is quite clear with the opening of the new drone facility in Lincolnshire that the British Government, like the rest of the world, are intent on maintaining and increasing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for use by the armed forces in all current and future theatres of war, However it is also clear that there are other uses to which this technology can be put, including surveillance and social control within the home borders.

It is a fact that many police forces across the world have invested large sums of money in drones and are now using them on a regular basis. It is also clear that there is now a lot of interest in the development of autonomous weaponry and surveillance systems using AI (artificial intelligence). Such Autonomous weapons are already in use in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the form of anti aircraft weapons that don’t have to wait for a human to give it an order to deploy.

There is a lot of discussion going on between the MOD and The Pentagon about the use of autonomous AI in drones and other robot development. All of this research is partly driven by political aims in that it is becoming less and less acceptable for young men to be seen coming back from the front in body bags or severely damaged by conventional war.

Many people argue that the spectre of autonomous UAVs and other forms of social control technology is just pie in the sky sci fi fantasy. This is a dangerous delusion. QinetiQ has it’s own AI division and has been linking it’s work with its UAV development for about 7 years now. The pentagon via DARPA and The MOD are regularly discussing the ethical dilemmas associated with selling the concept of drones that take their own decisions to the politicians and the people.

In West Wales we have fought a lone battle against the developments at West Wales Airport and Parc Aberporth. Local politicians who are desperate to try and solve some of the economic development problems caused by recession and unemployment have been beguiled by the false promises of government agencies and arms manufacturers and have largely turned there back on the issues outlined here. It is time for the people to take action and we need national co-ordinated support from peace activists for future events.

AI, Robots and Psychology

BBC Radio Four aired this show today and it demonstrates that there are some serious voices with major concerns about the development of autonomous killer machines.  This is well worth a listen and I urge all readers to share this link.

“Robots probably won’t take over the world, but they probably will be given ever greater responsibility. Already, robots care for the elderly in Japan, and drones have dropped bombs on Afghanistan. Professor Noel Sharkey fell in love with artificial intelligence in the 1980s, celebrated when he programmed his first robot to move in a straight line down the corridor and , for many years, judged robot wars on TV. Now, he thinks AI is a dangerous dream. Jim al-Khalili hears how Noel left school at 15 to become an electrician’s apprentice and amateur rock musician before graduating as a Doctor of Psychology and world authority on robots, studying both their strengths and their limitations.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q8mm0

Pull the Plug on Killer Robots

This video from Human Rights Watch is interesting but behind the curve a bit in that there already autonomous weapons deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere (more on this in a future blog) however they are right about the issue being something that should exercise everybody who is concerned about the abuse of surveillance and weaponry in an increasingly weaponised and autonomous world.

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

LIVING IN THE NO FLY ZONE

HEAR THE SOUND OF A DRONE

NEIGHBOUR MAKES A GROAN

BEEN LEFT ON HIS OWN

HAPPENING MORE AND MORE

LIVING ON THE FLOOR

UNDERNEATH A DOOR

THIS IS MODERN WAR

 

DON’T WANT NO UCAV

BOMBING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO RFID

TRACKING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO CCTV

WATCHING YOU AND ME

ALL WE WANT YOU SEE

IS A COUNTRY THAT IS FREE

 

SOLDIERS HAVE ALL GONE

BUT THIS WAR CARRIES ON

THE CEASEFIRE IS A CON

IT’S OUR ARMEGEDDON

 

DON’T WANT NO UCAV

BOMBING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO RFID

TRACKING YOU AND ME

DON’T WANT NO CCTV

WATCHING YOU AND ME

ALL WE WANT YOU SEE

IS A COUNTRY THAT IS FREE

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 05/06/2012

SAVILLEGATE -WHAT NEXT?

Well there we are then Tom Watson says that the person he is referring to is not Sir Peter Morrison (a close ally of Thatcher) so the plot thickens. As I said earlier to my mate in London there are an awful lot of skeletons rattling in an awful lot politicians closets and now the allegations are starting to fly even Pandora would have a job closing this box of tricks….. the next couple of months are going to see some of the most vicious politics we have ever seen in the UK. My breath is well and truly bated as someone said to me today WHAT NEXT?

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

I wrote this after thinking about children dying by accident in Palestine.  Marc Gordon and I recorded the video very quickly in his monthly guitar shop in Cardigan in our usual let’s bang it down straight away manner.  We are having fun doing these Tuesday session videos and it looks like we will get out and about for more in the coming months as I am retiring from wage slavery next weekend.

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL

IN HER GARNET COLOURED DRESS

THE PERFECT IMAGE OF SERENITY

CARRYING A PILE OF TABOON BREAD

 

FROM HER GRANDMOTHERS OVEN

GOLD COINS GLINTING ON HER CAP

SMILING AT LEMONS IN THE SUNSHINE

WITH ASSURED STILNESS OF HER HEAD

 

STOPPING BEFORE CROSSING THE ROAD

SHE CRUMPLES TO THE DUSTY GROUND

ANOTHER COLLATERAL OBSCENITY

AN ISRAELI RICOCHET LEAVES HER DEAD

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE?

 

Harry Rogers: Sunday 16th September 2012

Julian Assange makes an amazing stand and upstages the world

This is an historic speech from Julian Assange and is an astonishing stand against the Cameron Government.  Such powerful words make it quite clear that Assange will not go quietly.  Why won’t the Swedish prosecutors ask him their questions in the Embassy in order to determine whether or not they are going to press charges against him?  It will be very interesting to hear what Cameron and Obama have to say in response to this.  Listen to the speech, it is an amazing political moment.  Assange has brilliantly upstaged the world.

Also read the article

‘I was the fall guy’: Julian Assange in his own words

at the following link:- http://www.newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/04/01/julian-assange/

The Impossiblism of Olympic sport for all

The utter impossiblism of a total sport for all policy in such a period of austerity defies belief. Clearly this is all a nonsense, but it won’t stop the politicians from making false promises in the afterglow of the games.  They’ll have us protesting on the streets demanding sailing,cycling and riding for all…… Equality is all about access, always has been and always will be. It just ain’t gonna happen but we will be sold a whole lot of dodgy pups along the way to make it seem as if they are trying to make it happen.  The Games make us believe that there is some semblance of reality about the whole shibboleth when in fact it is a gross confection designed to make us substitute spectacle for real life, hence the massive increase in the sale of Doritos, Lager and Coke. These are the days of the couch Olympics….

Trying to make us all strive to attain artificial recognition for achieving what in most cases (apart from distance running) amounts to a few centimetres is a distortion of what it means to really make a difference in this world.  When I was young I was good at swimming and swam for m school in the county championships, however I was a total dork at athletics and gymnastics and I gave up trying at those things I was not either good at or interested in.  The Cameroons will have us believing that it is all about competition.  Where is freedom of choice in this debate?  How will children who don’t want to compete be dealt with?  I already feel ostracized because I have not watched the games.  All this Strength Through Joy type propaganda is really dangerous and leads us into murky waters.  Still I will not stay silent even though I am outnumbered in my disquietude. Let’s see how much of a free country this island of ours is…..

So come on Olympics supporters say your piece but don’t think for one minute that I will not fight tooth and nail to destroy your pointless shallow arguments, bring it on if you’re so keen on competition lets have a ding dong, any place, any time, if you think you’re intellectually hard enough…

Every dogma has it’s day (nod to H G Wells)

Just a little rant written whilst playing poker on Facebook this morning, I had Marcuse’s essay On Repressive Tolerance in mind whilst bashing the keys for this one.  The title is a quip from H G Wells, I thought it was neat so I nicked it.

EVERY DOGMA HAS IT’S DAY

In the interest of balance
They have to keep it fair
Not just on the BBC
But every fucking where
Every Huckster politician
Has to have their say
When you’re watching television
Every dogma has it’s day
But anarcho syndicalism
Is nowhere to be seen
They keep real alternatives
Off of every screen
When you’re watching Panorama
Or Paxman on Newsnight
There is no more analysis
Just phoney left v right
No wonder the electorate
Can’t be bothered anymore
When they don’t even notice
We don’t want their bloody war!

Copyright: Harry Rogers July 1st 2012

An All American Boy

I finished writing this song lyric on 28th February and a week later this happened… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17330205 .

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

THEY POSTED HIM OUT TO AFGHANISTAN

HIS DAD HOPED IT WOULD MAKE OF HIM A MAN

LIKE IT HAD FOR HIM OUT IN VIETNAM

RISKING LIFE AND LIMB FOR UNCLE SAM

HIS GIRLFRIEND AND HIS MUM WERE REALLY SCARED

EVERYBODY SEEMED AS IF THEY CARED

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

 

HE SPENT MANY WEEKS FIGHTING WITH THE TALIBAN

GOT A NEW TATTOO THOUGHT IT PROVED HE WAS A MAN

GREW A BEARD THAT MADE HIM LOOK LIKE CHARLIE CHAN

THEN HIS GIRLFRIEND WROTE HE WAS IN THE DUMPER VAN

THAT’S WHEN THE SITUATION BEGAN TO GET HIM DOWN

THAT WAS WHY HE RODE HIS JEEP INTO KABUL TOWN

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

 

DRINKING ILLEGAL HOOCH WITH THREE OTHER GUYS

HE LOST ALL REASON ANGRY TEARS FILLED UP HIS EYES

PICKING UP HIS M16 HE RAN AMOK IN THE NOONDAY SUN

SHOOTING SHOPPERS WILLY NILLY FIRING ON THE RUN

A SNIPER WITH A LAZER SIGHT AIMED A BEAD OF RED

SLOWLY PULLED THE TRIGGER AND SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD

 

HE WAS

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

AN ALL AMERICAN BOY

Copyright: Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 28th February 2012

Weird Naked Indian

I wrote this in January 2010 and Marc Gordon and I recorded it for the first Chilly Dogz CD album of Performance Poetry “Boom-Time In Dystopia”. This is the demo version recorded on my hand held Olympus WS-560M digital voice recorder.  It’s so sad all those poor bankers who had breakdowns and never got it back together again…..isn’t it?   Ha ha ha…..

Here is the poem:-

WEIRD NAKED INDIAN
There’s a weird naked Indian living in our wood
Yesterday he told me he’d like to stay for good
He lives on nuts and berries and a handful of brown rice
He tells me that he’s found the keys to paradise!

I watch him from my window, foraging for food
Strolling through the bushes, completely in the nude
He says he’s had enough of living in the West
And who am I to tell him that he doesn’t know what’s best!

He’s weird,He’s naked

And he says, He’s an Indian

Pitched up by the stream in his tie-dyed bivouac
He’s given up the booze, the cocaine and the crack
He’s got a lot of stories, waiting to be told
I hope that I can hear them all before I get too old

Tales of town houses and his gleaming Maserati
Of Kruger Rands and parties with the banking glitterati,
Bent shares and dodgy mortgages, and how he lost it all
And the minor role he played in Lehman Brothers fall

There’s a weird naked Indian living in our wood
This morning I told him, he could stay for good

He’s weird, He’s naked
And he says, He’s an Indian
If he says
He’s an Indian
He’s an Indian!

Copyright: Harry Rogers – Aberbanc – 27/01/2010


What The Tories Want, and What to Do to Stop Them.

Posted on Facebook on Friday, 1 July 2011

It is absolutely clear what the Tories want, namely a massive increase in the reserve army of labour so that wages will be forced downwards and their privatising pals can make massive profits on back of the emisseration of the masses. I listen to their measly words on the BBC saying they want to make sure the lowest paid public sector workers get the very best pensions. That is such a lie and is insulting. As a low paid civil servant I take home £702 a month, I will get about £800 per year as a pittance pension from my job. What would really help here is for a campaign on wage levels across the country to increase, for tax avoiders like Phillip Green to be disenfranchised, for part time workers to be given equal rights no matter how many hours they work, for all defence spending to be frozen pending a referendum on what we need it for, and for a state pension that really reflects the respect we owe to our senior citizens, as they do in Germany and other European Countries. And let us not believe that the country can’t afford it, it can if it taxes the rich until the pips squeek (to coin a phrase), and if the rich bastards try to hold us to ransom by saying they will leave, then nationalise them, seize their assets and send them off on a boat to a destination of their choice. It is time we stood up for ourselves. The teachers and other public sector workers who struck yesterday are heroes in my view, and I hope the rest of the workers in this country have the will to join them in solidarity when the current talks inevitably break down (as they surely will as I believe it is Camerons plan to take on the Public Sector unions in a fight to a finish). This current dispute is not like the Miners Strike in one major way, Margaret Thatcher was able to stockpile millions of tons of coal in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfields prior to the miner’s strike, thus enabling the power supplies to remain turned on. Cameron however does not have the luxury of hundreds of thousands of trained public sector workers waiting in the wings to step in and keep the services running. This is why I believe the current dispute is winnable, what it needs is for all of us to mobilise support and have the argument with as many people as possible. I want a pay rise, a decent pension and decent publicly owned and run services, and I will fight tooth and nail for them. Public opinion is our opinion, we are the public so when you hear people trotting out the Tory propaganda, don’t just stand there, take them on in argument, we have right on our side this time, it is time to make a stand.

Have you got all the footage you need….

Another post from Facebook written on on Saturday, 11 December 2010

As I watched the coverage on BBC news 24 of the students protesting in Parliament Square it seemed as if the police were deliberately allowing, indeed cajoling people making, acts of destruction and disfigurement in order that the media could have something to focus on.  The BBC journalists spent all day talking about the violence coming from the protestors and filming students smashing windows and trying to batter down doors on government buildings.  At the end of the day in Parliament Square the damage was superficial, some broken windows, a couple of phone boxes smashed up and dabed with paint and a few slogans sprayed onto buildings and monuments.  This was portrayed as if the country was facing the break down of law and order.  Not true, in fact the state want to be able introduce much tougher legislation in case there is more serious unrest against the ideological attack on the public services that the people of this country have spent generations nurturing and building.  The Coalition want to destroy common ownership and replace it with privatisation in as many areas of state provision as they possibly can get away with before 2015.  It was amazing to see the polce stand back whilst “students” were allowed to aim a battering ram at the doors of the Supreme Court building for half an hour whilst Sky News and the BBC filmed it, eventually the police cleared the doorway and there was a policeman politely asking the camera operators “Have you got all the footage you need?”.  How revealing, the police had an agenda here as they did on a previous demo where a police van was deliberately allowed to be vandalised in order that pictures could be posted in the organs of the yellow pres, (Sun, Mail, Express, Star, Standard, Telegraph, Times, Standard etc) and used in TV programmes all across the globe to show what a lawless bunch of people the police are having to deal with.  Kettle the students in confined space, club a few of them, terrorise them with mounted officers weilding battons, and generally wind people up in order to provoke civil disobedience, this is the tactical approach of the police now that they have a sympathetic government in power that will not hesitate to give them whatever powers they need.  Political change is in the wind, young people are too clever to be hoodwinked by this approach, they are now getting organised in a way that was not envisaged so soon by the Tories.  In the new year when the ramifications of cuts start to hit people full force and mass redundancies start accruing, when VAT increases hit people in the pay-packet, when housing benefit cuts been people start losing their homes Cameron and his cronies want to ensure that they have the necessary powers to enforce order on the streets.  Of course as the events of Thursday 9th December 2010 show sometimes things get out of hand as the Chas and Camilla episode shows.  An unelected government bringing in policies made up on the hoof that were never put in front of the people is a recipe for disaster, either there will be an early election or there will be the impletation of a total police state, keep the cameras rolling, I need a little bit more footage…….

Freedom For The Pike Is Death To The Minnow

 

<a href="https://harriseeingred.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/all-in-it-together.jpg”>This is another of my previous notes from Facebook.

We need to protest about the way that the blue and yellow Maoists are imposing their outlandish policies upon our country without any democratic mandate whatsoever. Of course the media in the this country are prepared to roll over and allow what is in effect a right wing coup to occur without any real protest. We need a general election and we need it now, it is time to demand a rerun of last May’s debacle immediately.  When people voted Liberal at the last election most of them did not vote for a Thatcherite coup.  Nobody asked me, or anybody else, whether we accepted the idea of a coalition government.  Nobody voted in favour of the Big Society and yet it is being imposed in a truly gung ho approach to politics.  I read the prime ministers article in today’s Observer where he talks about moving away from state imposed controls.  He sees the decimation of public services a some kind of delivery of freedom to the people.  He says he is going to set up financial arrangements where people can bid for funds to run post offices, schools, leisure facilities, anything they feel like bidding for.  But these things already belong to us, we have paid for them with our taxes over the years and they are not in the possession of transient politicians to do what they will with, giving them away willy nilly to any group who comes forward to run them.  All those people who have invested their lives to being public servants from University and college onwards, being trained and educated to manage and implement services in ways that have the benefit of collected wisdom from practioners acquired over years of experience are being tossed aside with the kind of attitude one expects from a bored two year old tossing aside a toy they have got fed up with.  I fully expect to see all kinds of organisations and political whiz kids trying to spin the Egyptian revolution to suit there own ends.  I predict that Cameron and the rest of his cadre will be extolling the virtues of freedom inherrent in their Samuel Smiles Self Help approach to running the economy and the state in the same way way as the shiny representatives of the current Arab revolution are doing.  There is, quite rightly, a feeling of euphoria flashing around the world in the belief that the people of Egypt have, through the use of people power, overthrown a hated despotic and corrupt dictator, and this is true, Mubarrak has gone.  However, how quickly the airwaves in the West are filling up with right wing exponents of US style democracy claiming that this is what the people of Egypt want and that things will be great when the elections come.  I see all those American Republican spin doctors the BBC love to trot out on Newsnight etc emerging into the light of day claiming that this is the kind of thing they believe in whilst at the same they have acquiesced in the rendition of political prisoners for torture by the secret police of the very regime they are now reviling.  Freedom of expression is something that everybody wants until it gets to a point when their own point of view is being overturned by the wishes of the majority.  Those people who are in a state of reverie believing that democratic freedom is just around the corner need to wise up in my view.  Democracy is something that is hard to define, let alone implement.  The Western media have already embarked on their spinning and twisting, rewriting events and conducting interviews in slidy ways with untrustworthy pundits.  In Britain we see the wholesale destruction of the welfare state taking place in front of our eyes.  All those Butskellist rewards given to the people as a result of the deprivations suffered during the titanic straggle against fascism culminating in the second world war are being taken away trashed by lunatic idealogues who want to give all their school friends massive tax breaks and ensure that they maintain their, unearned, hegemony in what they laughably call a liberal democracy.  I am reminded, yet again, of this quote from R H Tawney, “Freedom for the Pike means Death to the minnow”, We all want freedom but there needs to be a bit less rose tinted spectacle wearing during this period of global economic crisis.  Elections in Egypt and Britain are needed ASAP and then maybe we can find out what the people want.  Of course the real debate that democrats everywhere have trouble with is not being talked about about in the open at present, namely that of the General Will versus The Common Good, that is for another day………..I hope that they manage it in Cairo, we may see but not if Murdochs minions have anything to with it……

Copyright: Harry Rogers 13/02/2011, all rights reserved. Permission is granted to download, forward electronically, or e-mail to others, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed

Happiness is a Blue and Yellow Smokescreen

On sunday morning I pulled the Observer out of the letter box and into the hall and saw that they had given me a free book called “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D.  Subtitled Can you learn to be happy?  As I worked my way through my boiled eggs I idly looked at the index of this tome under Karl Marx (I always do this just to see if the great man is mentioned) and sure enough there is one entry, so I read it whilst dipping my soldiers and this is what it says:-

“I believe that the spread of happiness perception can bring about a society-wide revolution, no less significant than what Karl Marx had hoped to achieve.  The Marxist revolution ultimately failed, though not before claiming millions of lives and making many more miserable.  Because the means it used were immoral from the outset – taking away freedom from the individual – it was doomed to bring little more than destruction and unhappiness. The Happiness Revolution, when it comes about, will lead to radically different outcomes, through radically different means.

In contrast to Marx’s proposed revolution, which was going to be externally driven, the happiness revolution must come from within.  Marx was a materialist, he believed that history was driven by material conditions and therefore that change had to come from the outside, through material means.  The happiness revolution, which is about the change from material perception to happiness perception, is mental and therefore internal.  No outside force is required to bring about this change.  Conscious choice – the choice to focus on happiness is the ultimate currency – is the only change agent.”

So that’s all right then, as long as each individual is happy everything will be hunky-dory.  I then started to think about the Blue and Yellow coalition and it’s well-being policy agenda .  There is currently an ongoing social survey programme being carried out by the ONS following David Cameron’s conversion to whole idea of changing peoples perspectives of what makes them feel good about themselves and their lives summed up in the term “well-being“.  This survey asks four very basic questions about perceptions of happiness and anxiety.  What is the political reasoning behind this addiction to what people are calling “fluffiness”?  In my view I think that the Tories want to be able to tell the world that despite the real deprivation and hardships that their programme of austerity is wreaking on society there are large numbers of people in all sections of society that still feel relatively happy and that anxiety levels are low amongst even the poorest in society.  Ben Tal-Shahar sums his book up thus:-

“To realize, to make real, life’s potential for the ultimate currency we must first accept that “this is it” – that ALL there is to life is the day-to-day, the ordinary, the details of the mosaic.  We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones, or learning something new, or engaging on a project at work.  The more our days are filled with these experiences, the happier we become. THIS IS ALL THERE IS TO IT.”

This is all there is to it?  What if you don’t have a job, what if you don’t have enough to eat?  What if the educational system is failing your children?  What if capitalism is collapsing?  Cameron is a con-man of the highest order and this whole Big Society, all in it together, happy clappy agenda is just the biggest smokescreen attempted by the ruling class in a long time.  I will write more on this later, meanwhile comments are welcome.