Slave Labour During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee


Congratulations to the Guardian for exposing the workfare scandal that took place during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations — and, specifically, the £12m river pageant that took place on Sunday, when, in torrential rain, a flotilla of boats, including one carrying the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, travelled along the River Thames from Hammersmith to Tower Bridge. For my previous take on workfare, see The Tories’ Vile Workfare Project, and How It Has Now Infiltrated the NHS.

I was alerted to the Guardian‘s article yesterday evening, by a friend on Facebook, and, before I report on it and analyse it, I’m posting below the first three paragraphs of the article, as they perfectly capture the spirit of self-righteous exploitation that typifies the current government, and that stands in such stark contrast to the supposed celebration of the Jubilee, in which — as with the artificial age of austerity implemented by the Tories for ideological reasons, to destroy the state and privatise the whole of the UK — we are all supposed to be in it together:

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government’s Work Programme.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

A private security firm, Close Protection UK, was responsible for stewarding at the Jubilee events, and a spokesman told the Guardian that they were “using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices, who were paid £2.80 an hour, for the three-day event in London,” and that “[u]npaid staff were expected to work two days out of the three-day holiday.” The spokesman added that “the unpaid work was a trial for paid roles at the Olympics, which it had also won a contract to staff.”

Close Protection UK is part of Colossus Security, who describe themselves as “Security in London specialists in all disciplines of security sector services, from manned guarding and door supervision, to close protection UK, Event Security service and residential security services.” They add, “We provide security operatives across a variety of industries, ranging from corporate, commercial and residential security guarding, to executive protection, event security management, construction site security and show security services.”

A woman who was one of the unpaid workers for the river pageant,told the Guardian that “people were picked up at Bristol at 11pm on Saturday and arrived in London at 3am on Sunday,” as the Guardian put it. She explained, “We all got off the coach and we were stranded on the side of the road for 20 minutes until they came back and told us all to follow them. We followed them under London Bridge and that’s where they told us to camp out for the night … It was raining and freezing.”

Another worker, described by the Guardian as a “30-year-old steward,” said that the conditions under the bridge were “cold and wet and we were told to get our head down [to sleep],” and added that it was “impossible to pitch a tent because of the concrete floor.”

The woman also explained that all the workers “were woken at 5.30am and supplied with boots, combat trousers and polo shirts.” She said, “They had told the ladies we were getting ready in a minibus around the corner and I went to the minibus and they had failed to open it so it was locked. I waited around to find someone to unlock it, and all of the other girls were coming down trying to get ready and no one was bothering to come down to unlock [it], so some of us, including me, were getting undressed in public in the freezing cold and rain.” The male workers, the Guardian noted, “are understood to have changed under the bridge.”

The female steward also said that, after the pageant was over, the workers took the Tube to a campsite in Theydon Bois, in Essex, where some of them “had to pitch their tents in the dark.” As she explained, “London was supposed to be a nice experience, but they left us in the rain. They couldn’t give a crap … No one is supposed to be treated like that, [working] for free. I don’t want to be treated where I have to sleep under a bridge and wait for food.” The other steward — a man — added, “It was the worst experience I’ve ever had. I’ve had many a job, and many a bad job, but this one was the worst.”

The Guardian also noted that both of the stewards “said they were originally told they would be paid,” but that, when they got to the coach on Saturday night, before the journey to London, they “were told that the work would be unpaid and that if they did not accept it they would not be considered for well-paid work at the Olympics.”

When the Guardian asked Close Protection UK for a comment, the company claimed to have “spent considerable resources on training and equipment that stewards could keep” (also claiming that they had spent “up to £220 on sponsoring security training licences for each participant and that boots and combat trousers cost more than £100”), and added that “the experience was voluntary and did not affect jobseekers keeping their benefits.” Molly Prince, CPUK’s managing director, issued a statement, in which she claimed, “We take the welfare of our staff and apprentices very seriously indeed.” She also claimed that the work was part of the training of many of those involved, and pointed out that “festival and event work” was “hard work and not for the faint-hearted.”

Also involved in the work programme was the charity Tomorrow’s People, which set up the placements at Close Protection UK. Although the charity was one of eight youth charities supported in the Guardian and Observer‘s Christmas appeal last year, and describes itself as “an innovative national employment charity that is changing the lives of some of society’s most excluded and marginalised people through work,” it was officially censured in August 2010 by the Charity Commission after its chief executive Debbie Scott appeared in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto, in a full-page picture. The Commission noted that this “amounted to giving the charity’s support to the Tories,” even though “charities must not support or oppose political parties or candidates, but can campaign on a policy that coincides with that of a political party.

The Guardian noted that Abi Levitt, the director of development services at Tomorrow’s People, promised to “undertake a review of the situation as a matter of urgency,” but made a point of stating that “Tomorrow’s People believes strongly in the value of work experience in helping people to build the skills, confidence and CV they need to get and keep a job and we have an exemplary record going back nearly 30 years for our work with the long-term unemployed.”

Today, responding swiftly to the outrage that greeted the story, with over 37,000 people having shared the Guardian‘s story on Facebook, the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott wrote to Theresa May, the home secretary, stating that he was “deeply concerned” by the Guardian‘s revelations, and noting that the situation raised “very serious questions” about the “suitability of using private security contractors to do frontline policing instead of trained police officers.” He added that CPUK had shown a “blatant disregard for the care of its workers.”

“It is totally unacceptable that young unemployed people were bussed in to London from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth and forced to sleep out in the cold overnight before stewarding a major event with no payment,” he wrote. “I am deeply concerned that a private security firm is not only providing policing on the cheap but failing to show a duty of care to its staff and threatening to withdraw an opportunity to work at the Olympics as a means to coerce them to work unpaid.”

He added, “I call on you to immediately investigate this matter and alert the Security Industry Authority to see if CPUK has breached its SIA approved contractor status. I believe that this could be a breach of 2.3.1(f) of the SIA approved contractor status terms and conditions of approval, which states a contractor can have approved status removed if it is ‘found no longer to meet the fit and proper person criteria applied by the SIA.'”

As the Guardian put it, he “ended the letter by calling for an investigation into the matter and calling for CPUK’s contract for the Olympics to be urgently reviewed.”

The Guardian also explained that CPUK has now issued “sincere apologies” for what it is calling the “London Bridge incident.” In a statement, Molly Prince claimed, “The London Bridge incident should never have happened but was to some extent outside our control, the coach drivers insisted on leaving. For this we sincerely apologise, on investigation this morning the majority of the team were happy, fed and looked after as best possible under the circumstances.” The statement added, “We are not in the business of exploiting anyone.”

Mentioning the unpaid workers, Prince’s statement claimed, “The only ones that won’t be paid are because they don’t want to be paid. They want to do this voluntarily, [to] get the work experience.” She added, as the Guardian put it, “This was because they would no longer be able to claim jobseeker benefits if they accepted a wage for the work.”

Molly Prince’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have been disabled since the story broke, presumably because of the volume of complaints she received from those who had read the Guardian‘s article, and who were unimpressed that people were working for no money — whether treated abusively or not — at a £12m event that was designed not only to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but also to celebrate the UK.

In Britain today, there are those — in the government, and in parasitical companies that have arisen to take taxpayers’ money in exchange for providing training for jobs that don’t exist — who believe that it is appropriate that people were working for nothing at the Jubilee, just as they are enthusiastic that similar schemes will facilitate the deployment of slave labour at the Olympics as well.

I dislike intently having to share my country with these devious and unprincipled opportunists, who are diverting attention from the real problems — that there are five times as many unemployed people as there are jobs, and that the government has no credible plans for job creation — by blaming the unemployed (and, it should be noted, the disabled) for being unemployed in the first place.

This is immoral, unethical and thoroughly disgraceful, although it is clearly part of the government’s “survival of the fittest” plan to dissolve the state, to destroy the public sector, and to make everyone totally self-sufficient — consigning them to squalor and misery if they are unemployed or disabled, or if they have made it to old age without being rich. I cannot accept that the staging of the Jubilee events — like the imminent staging of the insanely expensive Olympics — can legitimately involve any unpaid work whatsoever, given the amount of money swilling around at a corporate level — most of which is coming straight out of taxpayers’ wallets.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

48 Responses

  1. Moe says...

    The original exposé actually came, not from the Guardian, but from here

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks. I had missed that. Interesting article, and I’m always happy to acknowledge the original source of important stories.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Jere Douglas wrote:

    This does not sound any different than Texas.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    And no offense to Texas, Jere, but I wasn’t led to believe that the situation in Texas traditionally provided a model for the UK.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    On Digg, cosmicsurfer wrote:

    So Lizzie and the boys get the pompous pomp and big bucks spent while Cameron kills the Welfare State due to “lack of funds”…I guess to PROVE the countries status as “destitute,” they can’t pay a day’s wages for working to create the pompous pomp.
    Cameron has just re-installed INDENTURED SERVITUDE. What’s next? Work Houses and prison for debtors?
    Hey Cameron, trying to create a new generation of POMEs?

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, cosmicsurfer. Yes, it’s a particularly illuminating example of the ever-growing gap between the unemployed and the super-rich, which will hopefully help some people to understand that there’s something deeply and perniciously wrong with the heavily promoted idea that there’s no money to pay for people to do jobs. This lie is being aggressively promoted when it comes to the young and unemployed, and increasingly is also being applied to those already in work, whose jobs are being described more and more as unaffordable, even though those at the top don’t seem to suffer from the austerity to which they’re subjecting everyone else.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Back on Facebook, Neil Mckenna wrote:

    Thanks, Andy – the importance of this occurrence during – and as an integral part of – the Jubilee is not going away any time soon, and the more diligent will be all over it during the Olympics.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Neil. Great point, and I certainly hope to keep looking into it. Anyone with any stories about which companies using the unemployed for unpaid labour will be taking part in the Olympics is invited to get in touch with me at any time.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Bill Gibbons wrote:

    It’s like taking people back to the 18th Century.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Bill. Yes, punishing the unemployed has become turbo-charged under the Tory-led government, although it began in earnest under New Labour. As far as I can see, it’s capitalism’s way of avoiding any challenging questions about why most of our work has been outsourced to other countries for the profit of the few, leading to a surfeit of unemployable citizens in our own countries. With a cynical sleight of hand, the blame has been transferred onto the victims, along with dangerous propaganda – that the unemployed and disabled are workshy spongers – and that they are the “undeserving poor,” even though this is the mentality that created eugenics in the 19th century and that was enthusiastically seized upon by Hitler.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Jere Douglas wrote:

    I never implied that the situation in Texas traditionally provided a model for the UK, just pointing out similarities in the world of which we are all a part of.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    I might have phrased that a bit oddly, Jere. Sorry. I realize that you were only reflecting on similarities, and I’m sorry for both Texas and the UK that such similarities exist. I just wish that as many people as possible could be treated as fairly as possible.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Bill Gibbons wrote:

    In the United States things are so out of balance that there are movements to end social security and abortion. It seems people in Britain could get together and run out their oppressive government, but in the United States we could see an era run by absolute fanatics.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    And Bill, thanks again. I agree about how things are going in the US, but it’s by no means clear that people in the UK are sufficiently aware of the extent to which politicians are lying to them about austerity.

  15. Peace Activist says...

    I would have expected worse than the stuff we have seen so far. I have campaigned on this issue and think maybe there are more problems to come.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Peace Activist. Like the acceptance of “unpaid internships” in so many places, I think the spread of workfare is supposed to creep up on us slowly, accompanied by the sustained rhetoric about workshy scroungers, so that we don’t realize how widespread it has become.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Sophie Epton wrote:

    people would be and are frightened of losing what little they have to live on , and therefore wont talk to anyone in case their names are slipped out…

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil Mckenna wrote:

    As I understand it, here we’ve got some volunteers getting next to nothing and some obliged to do the work on threat of benefit withdrawal. These are not people classed as disabled or incapacitated, they are in receipt of the low band benefits, the pittances. As you say, Sophie, clearly some of these people were scared – scared to simply speak the truth of the matter because they thought that if they did they would face benefit sanctions. Whether or not that is true, it shows how people think, and it shows what governments think they can exploit. People don’t know what their rights mean. People don’t know what their entitlements mean. People live in fear of the state, and if the state senses that they will strip away entitlements and rights as far as they can, because the paymasters they hold in thrall are the corporations, not the individual person taxpayers.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Sophie Epton wrote:

    If anyone volunteered i doubt if they were claiming benefits, those on benefits werent given a choice , go or lose your benefits simple as, and if that happens it takes weeks sometimes months to get benefits back, i know of people personally that have waited 10 weeks to get a payment and was forced to take a loan or starve literally , how bloody wrong is that. there are many people i know of in similar situations who are terrified , they also have to pay their bus fares / train fares out of the pittance they get to go to the voluntary job and again end up getting loans from the social which is paid back at £8 or so weekly , obviously making them worse off, cant afford to buy new or charity shop clothes either. My God it boils my blood….

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Sophie, thank you for your insights into how things are now. It seems to me that too many of those who should be paying attention – journalists, for example – have either never experienced what it’s like to be in a precarious state, or have forgotten what it’s like.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui JS wrote:

    You’ve got to be kidding me. What a wretched class statement, stewards for the queens jubliee, unpaid. They should be so privileged I’m sure.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Back to the middle ages, Mui. Certainly, I find it hard to see it any other way when it comes to juxtaposing the Queen and her hugely expensive Jubilee celebrations with the situation these “stewards” were put in.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Beverly Hendricks wrote:

    Andy, I shared this and have a rather spirited dscussion going on my thread, in case you want to weigh in. thanks.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Beverly. I saw your thread – and thank you for the kind words about my work.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Beverly Hendricks wrote:

    ‎Andy Worthington is a terrific source. As a journalist, for a few years now, he’s specialized in documenting, and doing his best to publicize, the histories of Guantanamo prisoners. He is the foremost journalist in the world doing this. Though still continuing that important work, lately, he has given much attention to the privatization of the UK under the Cameron Tory/coalition government. The fact of this particular set of events happening during the Jubilee was not his focus (though, I don’t imagine Andy is big on the royals). He has been writing about this stuff a lot lately, including privatization of the NHS and severe slashing of services for the very most vulnerable people living in the UK, including the severely disabled. (He doesn’t compare these services to those in the US–as no one in the West should, our standards here, being so very low). I just want you to know that I have come to rely on Andy Worthington as a source (on certain subjects THE source) for meticulously researched reportage of global significance. Do read the Guardian article. Also, I hope you take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with Andy’s work. I think you would like it.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Adeba Khan wrote:

    Disgusting!! to say the least!

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes. Thanks, Adeba for recognizing it for what it is.

  28. Goner says...

    Have a taste of it, Britons. Have a taste of your unquestionable, ‘divine’ monarchy.That’s what your monarchy did to us 200 years ago in a much gigantic scale.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a long perspective, Goner – and undoubtedly true – although please don’t forget that the rise of the British empire also involved the monarchy and its accomplices in government and trade using the British people as cannon fodder and exploiting them as workers – in the slums of the Industrial Revolution, for example.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Lewis MacKenzie wrote:

    Was it Lawson who said, back in the 80s, that a certain level of unemployment had to be tolerated in order to tame inflation? This is what I find most cynical about the demonisation of unemployed workers. Of course, unemployment is particularity high now, as a result of the credit crisis and ensuant Great Recession, but persistent mass unemployment has been a hallmark of developed economies since the Thatcherite revolution. Neoliberal economics alleges that there is a trade off between employment and inflation, so governments have neglected to use their inherent fiscal capacities to create enough jobs for the workforce. So you create unemployment by restricting demand, then blame the victims for not finding work.

    BTW, did you know that the word “tory”is derived from the irish word “toruighe”, meaning “an outlaw”, specifically “a robber” or “plunderer”?

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    David J. Clarke wrote:

    Thank you for helping to expose the counter-intuitive and transparently perverse, ideological mindset behind Workfare. It really is a Conservative wet dream come true: the financiers engineer what (Noami Klein calls) disaster capitalism ensuring an endless supply of low paid and even unpaid labour. It is immoral and should be illegal. These people are completely devoid of conscience and sorely lacking in integrity. Let them work for nothing and taste the bitter dregs of desperation – phoney, two-faced bastards.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Mike Chenery wrote:

    Thankyou, Andy.
    Unfortunately, some people, particularly on YouTube, are blaming this abuse of the unemployed on the Queen, instead of where the blame really lies; with Cameron’s government.

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Patricia Sheerin-Richman wrote:

    Not blaming the Queen but it stands in stark contrast to the lifestyle of the Queen and her hangers-on in their designer clothes, sipping champagne. Those poor sods who had to travel overnight by bus and ended up cold and shivering under London Bridge. Britons never, never shall be slaves. Oh really ? Well it bloody looks like slavery to me!

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lewis, David, Mike and Patricia – and everyone who has liked and shared it (281 shares to date!)
    Great comments, everyone. Lewis, I hadn’t heard the origin of “Tory” before – plunderer could hardly be more accurate. I also agree absolutely about the hypocrisy and sheer unmitigated cruelty of blaming the unemployed for not having work when it’s a deliberate part of capitalism. And I never forgave, and never will forgive the Tories for waging war on the unemployed as soon as they could, when, in June 2010, there were half a million jobs, and two and a half million unemployed.

  35. Terry says...

    Why not just bring in compulsory euthanasia for the over 65s, (that’s Me) , Sick and Unemployed. That would Please Cameron and his Mates.
    I was ardent Torey up until this all started, now I am ashamed of what they have become.
    Jobs for the Boys, Business opportunities for there Cronies, In Other Countries it would be called by another name beginning with Cor.
    The question needs asked How many Qualified Stewart’s where in charge of these so called Apprentices and Volunteers.
    The answer will Quantify if it was slave Labor or Not.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the comments, Terry. Good to hear from you. The truth certainly is that this government wants to wash its hands of anyone who isn’t rich or fortunate enough to look after themselves – so don’t be poor, don’t be old, don’t be ill, don’t be disabled, don’t be unemployed. Disgraceful.

  37. Paul says...

    Somebody above mentioned Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’.

    I would recommend anyone interested in the problems of the modern world read this book. Having read it, I find I can now place many apparently disparate events and trends across the world into a historical and political framework that helps to make sense of what is happening. It is also not a book of political philosophy or theorizing, but rather, a well-referenced analysis of recent history, often citing instigators, perpetrators and facilitators of neo-liberal* economics: from Chicago, through the South American dictators, to Russian, the Caribbean and South-East Asia.

    Paraphrasing from a speculative fiction novel – I forget which – ‘the first step in avoiding a trap is knowing of its existence’. Neo-liberal economics is the trap. This book is a spotlight illuminating its existence.

    *Also called neo-conservatism, laissez-faire, Friedmanism, Thatcherism, Reaganomics or free-market capitalism. (These being, at best, minor variations or framings of the same idea.)

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Paul, for the useful information, helping people to identify the enemy and to understand the scale of the problem.

  39. damo68 says...

    the thing is camoron and co are so completely clueless as to how people actualy live they cant comprehend that you dont have a min of 50 grand in the bank that your privately educated . i live in london now in acton not far from camorons old stomping ground fulham ,now i was born in fulham and it was then [1970s] a very poor and run down area but you see thease tories there now ..there like genetic throwbacks,primatives,the people that time forgot,inbreeds so utterly stupid in thought and action physically weak and sexualy inadequate now camoron has never ever ever had a real job its only ever had pretend jobs secured by daddy camoron whouldnt be able to hold a job down he,s to weak and feeble minded as is most white hetro sexual middle class tories and thease same bio rubbish has sold everything that hasent been nailed down in this country of to the private sector lineing there pockets.there are no jobs you have all thease crocked little shyster companys now makeing people work for nothing with a bullshit promise of some[haha] real paid work in the tommorows people couldnt get anyone a job if they were paid[teehee]as ive said before if your fit and healthy have some real world skills get outta her,this country isnt worth it anymore..go to australia,new zeland ,canada,latin america ..put your back into it and work hard be open and freindly respectfull and who knows a dream life could be yours if your poor and working class in this miserable little cunt of a country your hated by the tories from cradle to grave…england isnt worth it nomore,lol

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Brilliant analysis, Damo. Thanks again. “There is no future in England’s dreaming” were the words from the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” that were running through my mind during the Jubilee. And the irony is that at that point, in 1977, there was still hope. It was only two years later when Thatcher got in that the mission to transform society really began – privatise everything, liberalise every wealth-making opportunity for those with money, shut down the industries that drove Britain’s empire, outsource everything else, and pretend that there will be a trickle-down effect from the rich. Which there wasn’t, of course. And then under New Labour, it all happened again, leaving us in an unprecedented mess, with no work, or no meaningful or adequately paid work, for everyone outside of the professions, and the criminal bankers and entrepreneurs. Your analysis of the shysters companies taking taxpayers’ money to provide non-existent work – at colossal expense – to the unemployed was a particularly savage denunciation of the cruel and stupid leadership we’re suffering under.

  41. damo68 says...

    sorry to go on andy but this society in this country is so fucking unfair,its the 21st century and we still have a class system jesus h crist wot is this the middle ages with lords and serfs the whole repulsive jubilee thing made me wanna puke millions spent on those cunts in times of recetion when people are loseing everything ,and we are supposed to bow to thease fuckers death to the monarchy birth to a republic..i know i keep pithching for people to flee the uk but everyone i know who is working class and poor who has taken there chances in aust,new zealand and canada theve worked hard theve been cool warm and open ..andy they are liveing lives that they would never ever have had here..becouse of this fucking class system it just makes me so mad its a vile society here how dare they wright people of becouse they wernt born with a silver spoon up there arses…oooh i dont know andy i shall have to go and have a little lye down now after that rant,lol,lol,lol dxx

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s very hard not to go on about it, Damo. My work on Guantanamo is relaxing compared to having to deal with the cruel, clueless scumbags in charge of Rip-Off Britain plc, who didn’t even persuade the malleable British people to vote them in. None of us asked for this Frankenstein’s Monster of a coalition, distinguished only by its casual cruelty and colossal incompetence. Get off your arses, people of Britain, and rise up, before it’s too late. Please. Switch off the TV, and stop blaming your neighbour, or immigrants, or the poor, the unemployed and disabled. It’s not their fault that we’re so screwed. Look to your lords and masters, and to all the other well-connected crooks, and ask where all their money came from, and why they’re not paying any tax or suffering any of the austerity cuts to which we’re being subjected.

  43. damo68 says...

    dont get me started on guantanamo or the whole..for oil mess out there….but for fucks sake its like were entering the new dark ages..soon they will be burning witches again,

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    I think they already started, Damo – with the disabled. Just like Hitler.

  45. damo68 says...

    but andy we are starting to see the rise of the far right our government is far right i dont know andy i think people are in some kind of brain sleep or there numb as to just what is going on al around them undermineing them hell even killing them yet people refuse to wake up,there are andy dark forces at work diabolical monsterous people jesus christ just look at syria ..but people are more interested in x factor or celebs or the latest electronic consumer geegaws we are starting now to see the start of catastrophic enviramental change ..andy the hippies tryed to warn us nearly 50 years ago but we were all to be consumed by consumerisum apart from the so called enviro cranks ,weirdo,s outsiders nobody cared well they will have to start careing now..andy people will and must start to change this hyper capitalisum and hyper consumerisum cannot go on quote a line from the steive wonder song liveing for the city …unless we all change it will soon all be over…dxxx

  46. damo68 says...

    i think anyone whos awake or starting to wake up should listen to the marvin gaye album whats going on a very ahead of its time and prophetic album made 40 years ago but it could be talking about exactly whats going on today dxx

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    What I find most alarming, Damo, is that people don’t have any long-term memory – they can’t remember that times used to be easier, people were less hard, greed was rare …

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    And yes, “What’s Going On” – a great album from a time when there was more consciousness …

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

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