Springingtiger's Blog


Bracken’s Response (to a Labour Party that has lost its people)

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A friend of mine who lives in England received a request from the Labour Party for help or donations to win the Scots from Independence. I copied her reply because it is a powerful response from an English Labour supporter, and former member of many years, who opposes her former party’s stance on Scottish independence. It puts a lie to the myth that Labour is united in its opposition to Scottish independence, and she speaks with the voice of the Labour left who feel excluded and betrayed by the party they love. Labour was once the party of ordinary people made extraordinary by their solidarity and passion for justice, this letter shows that passion is still alive; it also shows that in England, as in Scotland, the traditional supporters of Labour are divided from a Labour leadership that has lost touch, not only with its own supporters, but with the principles upon which it was
founded.

“I read your correspondence and hope you will read my response.

I support the right of the people of Scotland to express their preferences about the future governance of their country  in a referendum. Living in England and having an interest in politics I have formed my own view of the forthcoming referendum. However, I believe in self determination – and it is up to Scotland to make the choice.

I have heard Labour Party spokespeople comparing a possible yes outcome to a divorce. Perhaps Scotland will vote to leave the union because they have been treated so poorly within the union. The Labour Party must take some responsibility for that.

I note that polls have indicated that many people who voted Labour in the last general election intend to vote Yes in the referendum. I wonder, given this fact, why  Labour Party MPs  arrive in Scotland to campaign for a NO vote rather than having the humility to listen to the concerns of the people in an impartial manner.

I do not think people are impressed by MPs absenting themselves from Westminster and neglecting to hold the Prime Minister to account on our behalf in order to lecture the Scots on how they should vote.

I  feel badly let down by the Labour Party, when in power they took us into an illegal war and in the run up to the forthcoming general election the leadership have promised to retain spending cuts.

I oppose further nuclear power stations and want to see the country acting to implement their obligation to nuclear disarmament from the treaty we signed. It seems clear to me that Labour is wedded to the retention and so the consequent cost of maintaining Trident- this will be a major fact in my decision when casting my vote next year.

I look at the way the Party responds to US demands for action over ISIS and sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine and the slow and inadequate response to the ongoing situation in Palestine.

I wondered if the photo of Ed with the Sun was photo shopped- but no, it was real – what an insult to the families of the Hillsborough victims who are still fighting for justice.

Almost every week the leadership, or sometimes the lack of it, gives me another reason to look for a different party or candidate to vote for.

I couldn’t help but compare the  influx of English Labour  MPs into Scotland with their relative lack of presence in supporting marchers who walked 300 miles to raise their concerns about the NHS.

I have a lot of respect and time for a small but  dwindling number of Labour Party MPs who do their best to represent and help their electorate whilst  staying  true to those who first established the party and the values and principles they held.

A UDA camp has been established outside the police station in Rotherham and today our region witnessed the spectacle of rival far right groups coming to blows in Rotherham; a town which has been pretty solidly Labour for all of my lifetime.

Labour representative have failed young people there for decades. The vacuum left by disillusionment  with the Labour Party has produced an alarming and dangerous situation which will lead to further alienation from the political process and serious tensions between different groups in the town.

I see little evidence of any sense of urgency from the Labour Party to tackle the situation.

So no – I don’t wish to donate to your work on the Scottish referendum but I will continue to make donations to assist people and organisations here and overseas who strive to defend services  like the NHS and who provide humanitarian help to those who are suffering as a result of military action and the failure of the international community to defend them for example in Gaza.”

I hope that when you read this it will remind you that the working people of England are not our enemies and their struggles are ours. Our freedom from English rule should not separate us from the English working class, or indeed the workers of any nation, but should rather be a pledge to stand beside them their struggles, as they have stood beside us.

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Ninety Seven Percent (thoughts inspired by the Tony Benn film)

Ninety Seven percent, 97%!
In Scotland, in the run up to the independence referendum we have got ninety seven percent of those eligible to vote registered on the electoral roll, experts are predicting a turnout of over eighty percent for the first time since 1951. However Scotland votes on the eighteenth of September we have an almost unprecedented opportunity to promote popular engagement in the political process, or to put it another way, get ordinary folk involved.

Last night I went to see the Tony Benn film, “Will and Testament” which was followed by a question and answer session. Needless to say a member of the No campaign tried to cheapen Tony’s legacy by reducing the evening to “would Tony vote no?” and ignoring the lessons the film contains about democracy, public ownership, misuse of resources, nuclear weapons, colonialism, capitalism. I squashed the attempt by saying, “The point is not whether we vote Yes or no, but whether we put power back into the hands of the ordinary people of Scotland!” I personally believe that it does matter that we vote Yes, and that a Yes vote will best increase democratic engagement among Scots, but I have too much respect for Tony Benn to misuse an occasion like the screening of his film.

I must admit I was annoyed to see the No camp trying to co-opt Tony Benn to their cause when they are, in many ways, opposed to his views.
Tony stood against nuclear weapons the no campaign wants to keep them and continue to squander resources on them.
Tony set up an oil fund to use North Sea oil for the benefit of the people, but the Unionist parties of Westminster plundered the oil to support financial misbehaviour and to subsidise banks. The YES campaign supports an oil fund. The NO campaign does not.
The YES campaign wants finances to be managed responsibly, whereas No campaign parties are opposing European legislation to cap bankers bonuses to fifty percent of their salary.
Tony Benn stood for social justice, the Yes campaign is committed to preserving the European Community Human Rights legislation and the Court of Justice; No campaign parties have announced they intend to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw as a signatory of ECHR. Why? Because the Human Rights legislation provides protections to workers, refugees and minority groups from abuse and exploitation.
Tony stood for social justice and equality, the United Kingdom is more socially and economically divided today than it has been for half a century and the Unionist parties are committed to perpetuating this inequality, even the Labour Party has promised continue the Tory austerity measures and so we will see queues outside food banks some time to come of we allow them to continue.

Tony Benn would be delighted by the level of political involvement in Scotland at the moment, across all levels of society. I was leafleting for YES in Springburn when a little afro-caribbean boy said he’d take one into his house, he stood halfway into his house and read the leaflet. As I came back past his house he asked me, “How old do you need to be to vote?”, sadly I replied, “sixteen, sorry.” and his little face fell. It reminded me of news reports of black South Africans queuing to vote for the first time and of just how precious a privilege it is to have a vote. However the vote may go, NOW is the time to to build democracy in Scotland! The people of Scotland have tasted the possibility of power; whichever side wins the vote, if they fail to move government closer to the people they will be guilty of a terrible betrayal. There is no evidence that a No vote will bring power to the ordinary people, indeed yesterday we saw William Hague assuring Conservative MPs that the promises of more powers for the Scottish Parliament, made by the party leaders, carried no more weight than election promises and are not policies. A YES vote begins a process of democratic involvement such as these islands have never seen, as we build a new country, with a new constitution, enshrining human rights and bringing government close to the people neglected for too long by a distant parliament in another country.



Weaselly Words To Trap The Unwary
August 21, 2014, 17:15
Filed under: Justice, Politics, Scotland | Tags: , , , , ,

When you are reading or listening to the cut and thrust of the independence debate in the media you would be well advised to take into account the language used. You will find that the language used is designed to influence you to accept some arguments and reject or ignore others. For example when Sir Ian Woods comments about North Sea Oil stocks were reported they were prefaced by a lengthy introduction telling us that he is very experienced, an expert, acknowledged by both sides, an oilman’s oilman. What the reports ignore is that he is just one voice and that there are contrary estimates, even when these are reported the introduction tends to be, “the Yes Campaign claimed” which immediately suggests the response is partisan and unreliable whereas Sir Ian is impartial, encouraging you to ignore the support for Better Together implicit in the other answers he gives in the interview, particularly about the size of economic units. Opinions that contradict Better Together tend not to be reported or acknowledged no matter how reputable the source, the only time we hear them is when something favouring Better Together is reported in order to give an illusion of balance. Things that sport independence like the Claire Ridge field and Clyde explorations are ignored as far as possible.

Another use of language occurs in the name of the organisations whose figures are quoted most often the Office of Budget Responsibility, often introduced as, “the independent Office of Budget Responsibility”. Technically now that the Tories are in government it is independent. However the OBR was set up by George Osborne to provide justification for Conservative policies, it was appointed by Osborne, it is independent in name only. Interestingly Osborne is quite properly referred to as ” the Chancellor ” and Alex Salmond as, “the First Minister”. However these titles imply an authority not always appropriate, calling Osborne, ” the Chancellor ” conceals that he has no experience of business nor economics qualifications while calling Salmond, “the First Minister” conceals that he has both.

Finally, you may want to be aware of the language used to introduce comments. How often often are remarks supporting independence prefaced by ” claimed ” or “alleged”, hardly as compelling as, ” verified ” or, “asserted”. Before you swallow what the media tells you about independence, check how much sugar they are using to coat the pill.



For Fairness & Social Justice! Anne-marie Monaghan

For Fairness & Social Justice! Anne-marie Monaghan.



And I Bid You Goodnight
August 15, 2014, 16:48
Filed under: social media, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

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I like, when I can, to post a goodnight poem on Twitter. Needless to say, having only one hundred and forty characters enforces conciseness. Today’s blog is a selection of goodnight verses, but I shall preface them with Twitterverses about Twitterverses.

1. Sometimes I feel that I should put
    My poems into Google +
    I prefer to write in Twitter, but
   140 characters constricts me thus

2. Social media differs
     In the way one works upon it
     Twitter can bear but a quatrain
     Whereas Facebook can take a sonnet                        

3. Twitter used well
     As some people do
     Comes as close as I can tell
     To an internet Haiku

The following goodnight Twitterverses are punctuated and their abbreviations converted, they are in no particular chronological order.

So much I’d like to do and say,
but I’m too tired, here ends today.
However tomorrow I’ll be revived and bright,
I’ll say more tomorrow night.

                               *

Shattered, looking into the abyss;
There must, surely, be more to life than this.
The abyss is awfy deep,
It is time I went to sleep!

                                *

Please excuse me if I do not post
I’ve had four lovely days of the most
Enjoyable fun with my grandweans
Now I must rest, I’m all aches and pains

                                *

Today I have studiously rested,
Although my patience has been tested
In not doing all the things I need,
So that I can recover with speed.

                                 *

I walked by the masts of Morrigan
Into the land of dreams.
Death may seem inevitable,
But nought is as it seems.
                   
                                 *

I go to bed, tears in my eyes,
My thoughts where Robin Williams lies.
Would that he could have carried on,
The night is darker now he’s gone.

                                  *

Grandweans can run one ragged,
But I’ve had three days of fun
And now my nerves are jagged;
In, I am well and truly done!

                                  *

With soft mattress and bouncy pillows
I set sail on nights dark billows,
Certain when I close my eyes,
I shall, into dreams, capsize.

                                    *

As I lay me down to sleep
For Gaza’s children I shall weep,
And for the Israelis too
And the evil that they do.

                                    *

In my ears the music rings
Elvis sings inside my head.
Rock and Roll has but one King
And Elvis is not dead.
Me, I’m away to bed!

                                    *

Now I bid you goodnight,
And a very goodnight;
If today you felt sorrow,
May you feel joy tomorrow
In the new day’s light.

                                   *
I’ve had a happy day,
Joyful thoughts fill my head
From a weekend of play,
And now it’s time for bed.

                                   *

The best weekends
Are full of friends
Both old and new
With lots to do
Sharing fun
In the sun
My world’s alright
And so goodnight.

                                 *

It’s hard to find, Mon Dieu,
A rhyme for Andre Rieu,
But now that’s out of my head
I can, at last, go to bed.

                                 *

Today we did some walking
And quite a lot of talking.
It was a good day for us
We went sightseeing by bus.

                                  *

Today was a day for the flicks
I saw an interesting mix,
Films and TV from all the world,
But best of all, The Glasgow Girls.

                                  *

At last my day is done,
A day without the Sun;
There’s no cause for sorrow
Tomorrow will be fun,
A great day tomorrow.

                                   *

I may, today,
Not have done
All I desired.
What can I say?
I did some,
And now I’m tired!

                                   *

TV and politics,
Brit Nats and dirty tricks;
Enough to make one weep,
I’m better off asleep!

                                    *

My body aches
So too my head;
I think that makes
It time for bed!

                                    *

Today I have studiously rested
Although my patience has been tested
In not doing the things I need,
So I can recover with speed.

                                   
And in conclusion:
Pithiness is the order of the day
When you have only 140 characters
With which to play.
Distill well what you would say
And make every syllable pay.
(Needs editing to fit a tweet
Else it were complete)

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New Beginnings

This is an updated post from earlier in the year, showing the power released by “Your  Call To Greatness” and the “Power of Sovereignty” in practice.

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It is a few years since I first encountered Darren Eden, probably around 2010 when Neelam and I went on what I think was called, “Call to Adventure”, with some changes it has now become, “Your Call to Greatness“. In January we did Your Call to Greatness and found it so powerful we wanted to do Darren’s eight weekend course, “”The Transformation“. Unfortunately, because of family commitments, this year we could not sign up for the whole course, but it is set up in such a way we could, and did, sign up for the first weekend.

In Your Call To Greatness I learned how people are either driven by results or by love and I realised how much I allow my beliefs to run my life. Darren’s course teaches experientially so by the end you don’t just know your beliefs intellectually, but have experienced their impact on your identity. In the personal development field we are often told to follow our heart; Your Call To Greatness uses intuitive exercises to identify what you truly love. Darren’s course, uses the Hero’s Journey, identified by Joseph Campbell, to explain the path to accomplishing what you really love. It is a hero’s journey because it occurs as dangerous, the safe path is to follow your received beliefs, it may bring what the world considers success, but if it is not what you really love, it won’t bring you joy! When faced by obstacles you can always turn back to the safe way. However, having once set foot on the Hero’s Journey, any turning back, no matter how sensible the decision may seem, or what apparent success it may bring, will always leave the erstwhile hero with a feeling of defeat.

Were that all I got from that first weekend it would have been enough, but there was so much more. I came away with an understanding of how my focus creates my reality. I learned a lot about the nature of my beliefs, but most importantly Darren taught us a powerful process for accessing the reality of who we are without the construction of beliefs. During the second day I learned an amazing amount about love as a creative force, I shall never look at goal setting in the same way again.

I learned a lot on the weekend, or perhaps learned in an even more useful way much I already knew, but the the most important and powerful thing was that I experienced it. In experiencing it I made connections to other people travelling on their own journey and, for a while, we supported each other along the way. I came away knowing I had a network of people upon whom I could depend in the years ahead. Having learned so much and built those friendships, having learned to focus on what I love, I was determined to walk this path further.

As a gift to all those who signed up for the first weekend of The Transformation, Darren offered his new weekend course, “The Power of Sovereignty” for free. When I say, “for free” for every participant there is a personal cost in terms of the comfortable presuppositions they give up, but in cash terms the course was free. Neelam and I spent the day before the course wandering about London which, as it so often does, meant a visit to Watkins Books in Cecil Court. As I browsed without any particular purchase in mind, my gaze fell on a book, “Daily Greatness Journal” subtitled, “A Practical Guide For Consciously Creating Your Days” which, at the least, was a curious synchronicity. On looking at the book, I fell in love with it immediately. Lyndelle Palmer – Clarke has created a beautiful tool for introducing a measured mindfulness into everyday living. I decided that, as Darren’s course finished on Sunday, on Monday I would start to use the Daily Greatness Journal’s eight daily steps to order my day. Before I could do that there were a number of parts of the book to complete, self analysis and goals to set. I decided to do it over the weekend, what an amazing weekend to commence a daily practice of greatness!

Darren Eden’s “Power of Sovereignty” is a weekend learning about Leadership, Relationships, Communicating and Negotiating. Darren showed that as we all interact with others we are always leading, although we may not always recognise our leadership. A central tenet of the course is that we are leading either with our beliefs or with love. Building upon the lessons of Your Call To Greatness we identified how our beliefs usually run our relationships and how we oscillate between different beliefs to manipulate others. Once again we used experiential exercises to identify different types of relationship and the beliefs that underpin them. Happily we also learned how the techniques we had learned in Call To Greatness could give us a powerful, non-manipulative way to relate with others that respected and acknowledged their greatness regardless of how much their beliefs might be running them at that moment.

I learned how to negotiate as a trade union official, I realise that what I learned were simply techniques and strategies to manipulate others. What the Power of Sovereignty does is to throw out everything we ever learned about communication and negotiation and replace it with a new way of communicating based on love in its purest form. In Darren’s first course we had learned that “tension seeks resolution”, rather than move past the tension we seek a quick fix, in negotiation perhaps we change an offer, throw in a threat like, “if you don’t buy before midnight the material will revert to full price”. However we learned how, by resting in our sovereignty, we could not only be with the tension, but let it guide us, whereas resolution robbed us of all the tension could teach us.

Again there were so many connections to be made, but also the joy of reuniting with the friends already made and the deepening of those connections. We had together passed a little further on our journeys and together, while separate, we journey on, sharing our triumphs, challenges and lessons. I was in a powerful place as I completed my journal preparation and settled down to sleep in the train home.

The next morning, today, I began my first day using the eight steps of the journal. I began with meditation, into which I introduced, as an integral element,  creating my circle of Sovereignty, as practiced over the weekend. It is a great place in which to look at the day to come; the second step asked “Today I would love….” It was just such an appropriate step in the light of the course on which I’d just been. Sovereignty is also a powerful place from which to consider those things in life for which I’m grateful; it illuminated my intentions for the day and the actions I would take. Above all sovereignty is a powerful place from which to encounter all the people of my day,  travelling home through Glasgow, and my family, people are so much nicer when you see them in their greatness. So today I began my journal and the road goes ever on.

I think it is time to update this post. I knew I really wanted to do The Transformation, but as I said at the start of the piece, I would have had to miss the second weekend. I spoke to Darren negotiating from my sovereignty, but he could not change his days and so it appeared that I would have to content myself with just the first weekend. However when you negotiate in sovereignty magic happens and, shortly after we had used the money I had earmarked for the course, Darren emailed because he had worked out how it would be possible for me to do the course. We worked out the logistics and now I’m on the course. When you are in your greatness magic happens!



Acknowledging Our Thoughts And Feelings
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Straws driven through potatoes on "The Transformation".

The other day someone commented that they had not been using an intuitive process because they were not in a good place, as in the right state of mind. I think we all sometimes feel like this, we all have times when we feel we should do something, but we’re “not in the mood”. That we need to be in a certain frame of mind before meditating or engaging in any form of spiritual practice is an unfortunate and disempowering belief. It occurs to me that the process Darren Eden uses, in his work, for accessing one’s intuition begins with a first step which should be the first step of any spiritual or personal development exercise.

The essential first step is to acknowledge one’s thoughts and feelings. This requires honesty; I have been involved in the field of spiritual growth for over half a century and I know how difficult some people find this. People believe “enlightenment” looks a particular way and that they should not think or feel a particular way and so they adopt  a “spiritual identity”. It is bad enough that they are lying to others, worse they are lying to themselves and, worse still, they are believing it. There is a story from the days of the est Training that when Werner Erhard went back to clear things up with his family, at one point he stepped outside for a cigarette; one of Werner’s brothers saw him and jokingly asked the question, “God smokes?” To which Werner replied, “Yes, and he also fucks.” The point is that it does not serve us, or anyone, to pretend be what we are not, or indeed, harbour illusions about others.

Honestly acknowledging our thoughts and feelings, however shitty they be, however much we dislike them, and however much they offend and embarrass us, puts us into a space of clarity. When we try to perform meditation or any spiritual practice without being honest with ourselves we are operating from a constructed identity and there is no room for intuition; any inspiration or insight that we have is merely something we have constructed to serve that identity. Intuition, as Darren Eden observes, only operates in the clearing that is left when identity gets out of the way, and the only way we can get it out of the way is to recognize it and that requires us to be honest with ourselves. As long as we are aware of our identity, we can operate freely, and still be aware of it running somewhere in our thinking minds.

Human beings are programmed to have feelings, feelings are valuable they provide us with insight into how are thinking and being. It is inevitable that sometimes we will be hiding behind a constructed identity, we use our identities as instruments through which we interact with others, there are times when the use of an identity is entirely appropriate. However we should use our identities, they should not use us, and as long as we are aware of them they will not, but that awareness only comes through honestly acknowledging our thoughts and feelings.

I personally find that it makes it easier if, every morning as I wake, and every evening before I sleep, and at quiet moments between I follow the steps to create my Circle of Sovereignty to step into innocence. It has largely replaced my other daily practices. The more I do it the easier it becomes, and so too does acknowledging my thoughts and feelings because intuition tells me we all have times when we don’t like what think and feel and that’s ok, we don’t need to like them, just be aware of them, then get with what we love.




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