Forget Santa We Need A New Wat Tyler This Christmas

A BRIEF APOLOGY: Posting on Sparrow Chat has been sparse of late due to certain health issues that are, hopefully, being resolved. It is anticipated that, to coin a phrase from vintage BBC TV: “Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible.”

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In 1381 the poor people of England rose up against a tyrannical regime of wealthy lords and landowners who passed laws that kept the general populace on the edge of starvation. It was known as the “Peasants’ Revolt,” or, “Wat Tyler’s Rebellion,” Tyler being one of the ringleaders. The people, armed mostly with no more than pitchforks, took on the might of the English army led by Richard II. Over 1,500 ‘peasants’ lost their lives and the ringleaders were executed. Nevertheless, this revolt against the power of the wealthy and their disdain for ordinary people, shook England to its core. Although experts disagree on the long-term effects of the Peasants’ Revolt, there can be little doubt it helped change the course of English social and economic history.

‘Tis the season of “peace and goodwill towards men,” at least according to St Luke 2.14. It’s interesting to note that this wording occurs only in the King James version of the Bible. All later ‘translations’ refer not to ‘men’ or ‘all men’, but merely, “…to those with whom He is pleased,” or, “…to those on whom His favor rests.”

One thing is certain, there’s little goodwill towards men emanating from either the U.S. White House or the British government this Christmastide. Donald Trump’s latest, and possibly his worst action since taking office, was to attempt bribery, blackmail, and serious coercion towards the rest of the world over his appalling announcement recently that the U.S. would be formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Nikki Hayley, acting less like a U.N. representative and more like a spoiled child demanding its own way, took pains to denounce all those nations who voted for the U.N. resolution. She has since issued invitations to all nations that voted against, abstained, or absented themselves from the proceedings, to a “reception” (presumably at the White House) on January 3rd, where they’ll be thanked for their friendship to America. [1]

it should prove a colourful event, given the list of invitees:

Reject: Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and United States. (9)

Abstain: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda and Vanuatu. (35)

Absent: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, El Salvador, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mongolia, Myanmar, Moldova, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Zambia. (31)

With the possible exception of Australia, Canada, (are these the latest ‘Cowards of the Commonwealth’?), and, of course, Israel, it’s doubtful the rest of this motley contingent could muster more than a few rusty cannon and the odd musket between them, should Mister Trump call on his new allies to attack the rest of the world.

Guinea-Bissau, Samoa, East Timor? And will Aung San Suu Kyi be part of the Myanmar contingent, accompanied possibly by a few of her Rohingya victims still capable of walking?

There is no peace or goodwill emanating from the U.S. White House this Christmas. Like some crazed Roman emperor extracted from an old Cecil B DeMille epic, the sick, narcissistic, sociopath presently in charge of America adds his spiky signature to a tax bill that will impoverish even more of his citizens, render Obamacare null and void, and hand billions more dollars to the wealthy and powerful to whom he panders.

Across the pond in Britain there is also little cause for celebration this Christmas. The hard right-wing Tory government is still hellbent on dragging out Brexit to its sorry conclusion. The U.K. pound flounders against the euro and the dollar, causing price rises across the board and making Christmas a financial nightmare for many.

Throughout the U.K. 300,000 people are homeless (1 in every 200 of its citizens). In London it’s 1 in 59. In Nottingham the first ‘vending machine for the homeless’ has been installed in a local shopping mall.[2]

The housing charity, “Shelter,” states:

1.6 million children in Britain live in housing that is overcrowded, temporary, or run-down. Some live in housing that’s making them ill. Many are missing out on a decent education. Others suffer chronic insecurity, shuffled from place to place in temporary accommodation. [3]

Inflation is rising, jobs are hard to come by, and the longterm forecasts for the economy are dire.

Yet the U.K., and London in particular, is a haven for billionaires from all over the world. There are probably more billionaires per capita in the U.K. than in the United States, because the Brexit economy is working for them.

From the Guardian:

The Equality Trust said the £83bn increase in wealth among the richest 1,000 people over the past year could pay the energy bills of all UK households for two and a half years and would be enough for the grocery bills for all food bank users for 56 years.

Wanda Wyporska, the executive director of the trust, said that an elite was sitting on mountains of wealth in the fifth largest economy of the world. “The super-rich continue to streak away from the rest of us, while the poorest see their wealth shrink. This is an economy working for the few, not the many,” she said.

“Record numbers of people visited food banks last year, millions are locked out of a decent home and two-thirds of children in poverty are in working households. [4]

Apparently the ordinary people are destined to become peasants once more. They are not those “…on whom His favor rests.”

That divine ‘favor’ is only for the wealthy and powerful, for whom our governments diligently slave, and are richly rewarded financially.

Perhaps the one present from Santa we should all hope for this Christmas – is a pitchfork.

[1] “Nikki Haley invites countries who supported US in UN Israel vote to reception” Fox News, 22nd December 2017

[2] “First vending machine for homeless people launches in UK” Guardian, 19th December 2017

[3] “Childrens’ Services” Shelter – Housing & Homeless Charity, undated

[4] “‘Brexit boom’ gives Britain record 134 billionaires, fuelling inequality fears” Guardian, 7th May 2017

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