That’s the question that Maureen often asks, very sincerely. I can see why. Like the Yellow Vests, she wants a more equitable world.
This is a snapshot of where we stand.
*A huge chunk of the British adult population is just one monthly pay packet away from running out of money, including Kev and Maureen.
*Nearly one in three children live in poverty and the use of food banks is rising.
*An estimated 320,000 people, according to Shelter, are homeless in Britain, including those living on the streets, sleeping in cars, trains, and tents, or living in temporary accommodation.
*Over 100,000 desperate debtors contemplate or attempt suicide each year, according to the Money and Mental Health Institute.
*Looking ahead, the House of Commons reckons that, by 2030, the richest 1% will own two-thirds of global wealth.
*Tony Blair and George Bush are still walking around freely, seemingly without fear, after having transparently committed huge war crimes that decimated Iraq. There is a stack of evidence that US forces used white phosphorus and depleted uranium in their attacks on Fallujah in 2004. Quoting from Out of Essex: “Subsequent birth defects in the city included babies born without parts of their skulls; missing genitalia, limbs and eyes; severe brain damage; unusual rates of paralysing spina bifida; and encephalocele, marked by swollen sac-like protusions from the head.”
*The UK and the US continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which continues to wreak a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Children dying by the thousands.
*The oceans are filled with trillions of plastic particles that are killing marine and bird life.
And so on. We could all sit around for hours and expand this list. I get it that individual free will is at the heart of human life, but a civilised society does not allow these miseries and injustices to accumulate. Does it?
The Yellow Vests symbolise how some French people are beginning to react to slowly becoming more powerless, as the financial and political systems have slowly squeezed national wealth towards the top parts of the toothpaste tube. And then out into offshore corporate jurisdictions where it becomes untraceable.
The spirit of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ is inspiring. The poll tax riots in Britain back in 1990 showed that violent civil disobedience can be effective, and just. I really have no idea whether the Yellow Vest movement has stamina. I suspect there are surprises in store.
I asked John Madden what we can do, to play a part in benevolent change. “Meditate, be kind and stop buying crap,” he advised.
I would add a couple of things. Firstly, stop voting until meaningful choices are offered. Voting Liberal to try and stop the Conservatives, or Labour, is like offering to have three fingers cut off so that your foot is not amputated. How about voting Green or just not bothering? Keep all of your limbs, while letting those in power know that they are on short notice.
Secondly, have nothing more to do with the largest banking groups. The power of these organisations, and their ability to quite literally create money out of thin air and then ask for interest back on it is a key explanation behind the structure of wealth distribution.
Growing your own vegetables is a great way to cut food bills.
Buying locally is a great way to counter globalisation, while bartering brings back the art of negotiation to transactions. Trading your homegrown carrots and potatoes for a neighbour’s goods brings a satisfaction that no shop purchase can ever provide – and denies an audit trail to those who might seek to tax personal transactions.
Finally, talk to your friends, family and workmates, without thumping the table. Carefully respecting the fact that they may not share your views, but knowing that change is usually incremental, even if it sometimes seems to suddenly explode out of nothing.
A couple of summers ago, I was chatting over the fence to my neighbour Dean. Until then, our intercourse chiefly concerned football (Arsenal v West Ham), mowing the lawn and other practical issues. But one day he revealed that he was driven to look behind the news headlines, due to his maverick nature. He danced around with his words for a minute or so, before letting me know that he believed that it was rarely in any government interest to tell the truth.
9/11 is always my starting point when the conversation takes this turn. Whatever did happen did not look like what we were told (Blog 14). Dean agreed, and off we went, chatting for about two hours that produced a real deepening of our relationship. I could equally have cited the Iraqi ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ nonsense promulgated by M16.
Something else that I am doing off my own bat is to look at the legality of the various taxes levied upon me. That’s a slow job, to be detailed at some stage next year. It’s just my opinion, but a mass withholding of taxes would surely hit a systemic Achilles Heel. The powers that be would have no choice but to listen.
If none of these tactics appeal, nature always works for me to restore equilibrium. Sunshine, fresh air and a little exercise is my great holding place, where recuperation kicks in, and new ideas spring into life.