Level up, level down, red wall, blue wall, Tax up, tax down, oi lend me half a crown, Put a levy on, hoover up some crumbs, See the CEOs twiddling their thumbs, Extend the furloughs, varnish over cracks, Bring back two for one, pork pies and Big Macs, Keep Matts’ health contract, no-one has read it, Deny his big lie, forget he said it, Big up the vaccines, claim a victory, Consign the mistakes into history, Tell all the people first thing in your head, Soon life starts again, don’t mention the dead. But the truth is, none of this is over, In fact we’ll find it’s only just begun.
Ordered satsumas, got easy peelers, Mandarins much sweeter than sacharine. Watch party leaders put out their feelers, Search too hard for political vaccine. Wail every day about democracy, Rule we can’t discuss the freedom of speech, Kafka’s in the corner, he brews the tea, Can’t tell it like it is? Ain’t that a peach? Meanwhile the Johnsons, Sunak and the Goves, Filch gigantic fortunes from the kitty, Whilst daily people catch Covid in droves, As Brexit shorters start to rook the city. This morning sparrows gorged on our berries, Lorries queued up on roads to the ferries……
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 12th December 2020
How is it possible to cut down saplings before they’ve even been planted? Well apparently in the magic money tree orchard in the realm of quantitative easing it is not only possible, but it is essential. Why is it essential? Because if you don’t keep filling the fruit baskets of capitalism then it will disintegrate. It may do this in any case if society as a whole fails to deal with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It may be that the current round of lockdowns works perfectly, the R number reduces, hospitals are able to function effectively, employees go back to their old ways of working, bankruptcies are reversed, people stop dying, the pubs reopen and we all sing We’ll Meet Again as we get blue blind paralytic drunk at the greatest national celebration since the end of the second world war. In my view this is as likely as The Snowman surviving an after hours lock-in at the local sauna. You can see the fear in Rishi Sunaks eyes as he extends his furlough scheme until the end of March next year. How can this possibly be enough whilst the schools are still open? Will the economy be able to expand in any meaningful sense over this winter? Entrepreneurs appear on our screens bleating about their pain with not a single word for those now imprisoned within an unfair and vicious benefit system who are expected to continue searching for non existent jobs on a paltry below subsistence income with no access to furlough schemes. Schools are moving into ridiculous scenarios where full time teachers are absent due to infection and year 12 and 13 pupils become increasingly indisciplined as supply teachers and assistants lose control. To call what’s going on a lockdown is absurd, viruses pay no heed to school gates, there is significant evidence from epidemiological experts across the globe that pupils are spreaders. It cannot be justifiable to put educational staff, pupils, parents and the public at risk. We have to watch as the policies from the different governments in the UK chop and change with such a plethora of rules and regulations. Confusion has ruled throughout the life of the pandemic to such an extent that it’s hard not to believe that such chaos is deliberate.
Then, the spindly spad with the giant black rucksack hit the news again, briefly. The master of Tory mayhem has had some kind of falling out with the leader with the haystack on his head and 24 hours later Cummings went. Nobody it seems is indispensable, even if they believe they are.
Meanwhile, over on centre ground, a different bucket of mackerel sits on the table awaiting beheading and gutting. The Labour Party heirarchy have decided that now is the time to implode whilst they still have time before the next general election to sweep the mess under the carpet. The continued belief in the mythical broad church by so many Labour Party members is utterly astonishing. Let’s recap a little here. The election of Ed Milliband annoyed the extreme centre in Progress to such an extent that they deliberately hung him out to dry in the 2015 general election campaign. When he duly lost that election and resigned as leader they were cock-a-hoop and held a Progress leadership slate video conference which was disgusting. Of course there was no talk of the left as the Campaign Group were seen as an insignificant rump. When Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring he was not taken seriously. The centrists didn’t mount a serious campaign on social media, Corbyn did, largely through his son Seb, who managed his media campaign. Jeremy was the only candidate to put a join the Labour Party button on his web page. This was a master stroke as tens of thousands did and duly voted for him, leaving Mandelson and his Progress cronies in total disarray, and filled with rage at the failure of their slate. Clearly they were left behind by the Corbyn online campaign and the sheer volume of Jeremy Corbyn mass meetings across the UK. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership the extreme centre began to seriously organise against him. Jeremy of course had hundreds of thousands of supporters and they duly defeated the chicken coup. The left in the party consisted of around four hundred thousand comrades, many of whom had rejoined for Jeremy. What I personally found difficult to come to terms with was the way in which Momentum set themselves up as the voice of the left and then behaved in an exclusionary manner throughout the following period of Jeremy’s leadership. Momentum never had more than thirty thousand members at it’s height and yet behaved as if they were the left in the party. This has led to a real problem both at leadership level and throughout the party in my view. Jon Lansman created a fiefdom that I and many other leftwing comrades just couldn’t buy into. Many local parties saw massive increases in membership levels but somehow that massive increase was not turned into mass action campaigns in local communities, too much attention was paid on how to fill positions within the party. The whole thing felt like a massive NUS conference. I won’t discuss my feelings about what happened at local level, suffice it to say I and others were never completely happy whilst we were in the party. What is happening now is tragic but not unexpected. It feels very similar to when the Militant Tendency and other left groups were expelled by Kinnock. I came back to Labour for Jeremy, who is an old friend and comrade of mine. He is being treated in an appalling manner both by Starmer and those “left” opportunists around him. There is no way back for him, and nor me. I am happy in Left Unity where we are small but solid in our politics. Now the attacks have widened, CLP Chairs and Secretaries along with leftwing branch activists are being suspended for daring to discuss Jeremy Corbyns suspension. The extreme centre are even now using keyword algorithms to trawl through leftwing Labour Party members social media accounts for evidence of support for Jeremy Corbyns position on anti-Semitism. Such chicanery is worthy of an insane headbang session in the oval office of the White House. I am not alone in my despair at the actions of the extreme centre in Labour. There will be a plethora of books written about this time I’m sure. Meanwhile I will work with like minded comrades to foster socialism in what time I have left. As for Cummings….. he’s yesterday’s chip paper already.
Harry Rogers, musing in the yellow room, 15th November 2020
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wrote this for a friend who had a falling out over social distancing.
MAKE YOUR OWN HONEY
Covid, Brexit, Marmite, Starmer, There’s always gonna be something. Art and music, TV, Fashion Humans all have different views, Sometimes things flare up with passion, Heard from the pews, or on the news. Sometimes one has to stand ones ground. Go dancing to a brand new jive, Be the one with the coolest sound, Fly home each day to your own hive. Life can be sad, can be funny, Press on and make your own honey.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 14th August 2020.
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.
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.
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