I make no apologies for the fact that this blog is going to be political and outspoken. I think the time has come, or is certainly rapidly approaching, when we shall be free to say what we believe on social media without provoking scolding, screaming and vilification and if that turns out to be true – high time too!
So I mean to start with a poem and without apology.
These things shall be: a loftier race
Than e’er the world hath known shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls
And light of knowledge in their eyes.
They shall be gentle, brave, and strong
To spill no drop of blood, but dare
All that may plant man’s lordship firm
On earth, and fire, and sea, and air.
Nation with nation, land with land,
Inarmed shall live as comrades free;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.
New arts shall bloom of loftier mould,
And mightier music thrill the skies,
And every life shall be a song,
when all the earth is paradise.
John Addington Symonds
It was turned into a hymn and was popular in 1945 when I was fourteen and the idea of the bloodless revolution against the all powerful rich, which had been detailed by Lord Beveridge in his report on the social order, was taking hopeful shape. The revolution he predicted was bloodless. It’s about the only revolution I can think of that ever was. But it was thorough and triumphant, thanks to the quiet purpose of Clement Attlee and the firebrand eloquence and total dedication of a new breed of politicians like the great Nye Bevan, who brought in the National Health Service, despite bitter opposition from the once ruling class. A great man. And not a member of the ruling elite, but a working miner with a lovely rich plummy voice to match.
I think it’s apposite now that the rich have become not just wealthy but obscenely wealthy, are apparently all powerful and until quite recently have kept their names and un-taxed fortunes entirely secret. And now – hooray – they’ve had their cover blown by the very publicly leaked Paradise Papers. The very name of it makes my heart jump and the details that are being revealed make me hope that at last and for the second time in my life we can change the social order.
It may be that you have not read the Guardian or tuned into Channel 4 or seen any other news of these revolutionary revelations because the papers you read and the TV you see are owned and therefore dominated by the obscenely, non-taxpaying rich. They have their fat fingers and their dominant secret voices in every part of our society. They put money into the Brexit campaign – Robert Edmiston for example gave thousands to two Brexit groups and I’ll be you’ve never heard of him, until now; they backed Donald Trump; they have financed our present corrupt government; they dominate our newspapers, the majority of which are owned by people like Murdoch and Viscount Rothermere. They are in every sense, as the Washington Post has said, ‘Enemies of the People’.
But their secrets are out now. They can be opposed, laws can be passed to ensure that they pay the full amount of tax they owe to whichever country they owe it to. It will probably take a general election and a complete change of government to start this sort of action in this country. But it won’t just be in this country, it will be worldwide, for the poor have been exploited by the mega rich all over the world. And the men and women named in the paradise papers come from virtually every nationality.
The more people who learn what has been revealed by the paradise papers, the sooner this necessary revolution will take place. We already have a leader in waiting who quotes Shelley, with total understanding, saying that he will lead a government for the many not for the few. He is spot on and it is a clear voice. Oh, oh, Jeremy Corbyn!
I can do no better than to end this blog by quoting Shelley too:
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many – they are few.