Author Archives: protestfamily

About protestfamily

The world's favourite east London semi-acoustic political sing along folk punk group.

The Progress of Society is Not Linear

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The Centre for Social Injustice

It’s what Supersonic is all about.

The press report this week that Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank, The Centre For Social Justice, recommends increasing the state pension age to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2030 because, they say, we’re living longer and we are unaffordable.

In 1948, when the state pension was introduced, a man could expect to live for 12 years in retirement and a woman 19, approximately 16% and 24% of their lives respectively[1]. The current state pension ages improve those percentages to 24% and 26%, the proposals from the Centre for Social Justice worsen them to 18% and 20%, with a man receiving his pension for just 17 years on average and a woman hers for 19 years.

But those are just numbers without considering the real hardship of people that can’t afford a workplace pension or the effects on your health and well being of being forced to work full time into old age. Those who would keep you in the workhouse, such as the Centre’s head, Andy Cook, would have you believe that work is good for you whatever your age, and stealing your state pension is a means to “help older people to remain in work”[2].

Nor do the numbers speak of inequality, the life expectancy of Blackpool man (74.7) compared to Kensington and Chelsea man (83.3), the widening of that divide with time or the socioeconomic back story.

The reality will be to make death in service the norm. This isn’t economic good sense, it’s class warfare.

Duncan Smith? We know a song about him. Hard work? We know a song about that too.

Steve

  1. Office of National Statistics
  2. Daily Mirror, 17 August 2019

FarmFest 2019

The Catholic Worker Farm and Mary House provide accommodation, food, English lessons, counselling and other services for 19 destitute (without access to public funds) female asylum seekers… and their children, at no charge.”

Three generations ago, my ancestors were what would now be called refugees or asylum seekers, fleeing oppression and murder.  We now live in a time of unprecedented numbers of people doing the same thing.  Women refugees – about a third of the total in the UK – suffer particular problems and are more likely to become victims of violence, including sexual violence.  Women refugees with children are at serious risk of having their children taken into care.

The Catholic Worker Farm have to fund their essential work supporting women.  One way they do this is by holding events such as FarmFest – a four day festival across the late August Bank Holiday weekend.  We’re proud to be playing this year – on Monday 26th August, time to be confirmed.

It’s cheap as chips to get in: £35 for the whole weekend for adults, half-price for kids, free for 0-5 year olds.  That includes 33 musical acts plus comedy, FREE camping and FREE parking, if you need it.  If you’re not doing the whole weekend, you can pay £10 per day.  And yes, there’s real ale.

It’s all happening on a farm in Rickmansworth, inside the M25.  See you there?

Lol

Racism – the hospitable environment

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Racist

Horrified last November by images of the burning effigy of Grenfell Tower, I resorted to song and recorded Nice/Not Nice.

Today we learn that in defence of one of the perpetrators, Paul Bussetti, his lawyer claims his actions to be no worse than those of the Prime Minister, directly quoting Johnson’s “flag-waving piccaninnies” and more.[1]

We warned you in 2008, and again in 2014. He’s not a harmless fool, he’s a dangerous ideologue. The Prime Minister’s racism validates racists. We live in dangerous times.

Steve

1. https://www.metro.news/grenfell-racist-is-no-worse-than-our-prime-minister/1655944/

 

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

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Here are some statistics from our local food bank, Eat or Heat, a non-political organisation keeping people alive in our small but perfectly formed piece of east London. And what they say is this: from Stellaville to Iain Duncan-Smith Land, compared to this time last year, there has been a huge increase in the number of people needing to use their food bank, referred in many cases by government agencies; agencies of a government that exists to ensure their safety and security but fails miserably to do so.

While pantomime Tories preen and keynote screech about investment and opportunity and demand double spaces after full stops, people are dying; the phenomenon of in-work poverty is disregarded.

These statistics don’t tell lies, the new man in No. 10 does.

Yes, we know loads of songs about this, and yes this is why we are so heavily invested in We Shall Overcome, but some days we are just plain angry.

Justice For Grenfell

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Yes, we do know a song about that but for reasons that we won’t share here[1] we can’t link you to it.

What we will say is that two years on from the fire at Grenfell Tower, hundreds of buildings in this country are still clad in dangerous, flammable material. In the case of some privately owned blocks, the landlords and the government know about the cladding but have still failed to warn their residents.[2]

Two years on, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, situated conveniently close to the chambers of the participating barristers at Holborn Bars but distinctly inconvenient for members of the Grenfell Community to attend, has forensically examined the response of the London Fire Brigade on the night of the fire but has so far failed to ask a single question of those responsible for fixing flammable cladding to the outside of the building, let alone those that created the political climate that allowed it to happen.

Two years on, we are told, we are still at least two years away from any criminal prosecution, and of that there is yet no guarantee.[3]

The silent walk convenes this evening at 7 p.m., the demonstration assembles at Downing Street tomorrow at noon. Join us; show your respect, demonstrate your anger, convince those in power that we will not go away. Demand justice for Grenfell.

Steve White & The Protest Family

  1. Ask us at a gig or demo
  2. 24 Housing, 10th June 2019
  3. The Guardian, 10th June 2019

Donald’s In Town

trump queen

It was a week for all tastes and pockets,[1]: Trump’s state visit, the second phase of Theresa May’s resignation (announce a date, stay on as caretaker, actually go), Elvis Costello accepting an OBE and blaming his mum; I couldn’t really let it pass without comment. With a nod to one of the characters in The Brexit Trilogy[2], here it is: Donald’s In Town.

It was her birthday
The kids made a card
With folded paper
And fading felt tips
No gifts
No money for gifts
No gifts
No money for gifts

It was demo day
Lots of paint and card
Hoping to go viral
For the Insta crowd
Home made
Witty placard parade
Home made
Witty placard parade

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town

He was too early
For her birthday
Didn’t bring a card
It’s all about him
This trip
A massive ego trip
This trip (‘s)
A massive ego trip

(It’s got)
Dinner with a duchess
Supper with a princess
Downing Street too
21-gun salute
All missed
21 guns all missed
All missed
21 guns all missed

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town

On her birthday
Elvis took his place
In the Empire’s order
Tramp the dirt down
In a crown
How do you tramp the dirt down?
In a crown
You can’t tramp the dirt down

(Well)
She smiled at the kids’ card
Laughed at the placard
Mocking the blowhard
Funny as milkshakes
Milkshakes
Running down Tommy’s face
Milkshakes
Running down Tommy’s face
(Save your outrage)

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town

Steve

[1] Hat-tip: Joe Durston
[2] Doesn’t mean I won’t write more about them