modern culture since 1991

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Archive for the ‘society’

We aren’t the 99% 13

Posted on November 30, 2011 by RevStu

It's even happening in Bath. Even in one of the richest corners of Britain – a city so posh that it refused a local organic dairy farm permission to open a boutique ice-cream concession in its expensive new showpiece shopping development in case it "lowered the tone" – there's an Occupy protest. A couple of dozen tents huddle together in Queen Square, a small green space in the middle of a busy traffic junction that's more accustomed to hosting farmers' markets and games of boules.

To be honest, I'm surprised there are that many. Bath's housing, parking and public transport are all so cripplingly costly that poor people can barely get into the centre of town even for a visit. But still, like most of the Occupy protests nationwide (those that still survive at all, anyway), the numbers are pretty pitiful. At a time when the government has all but openly declared class war, when everyone from the Socialist Worker to the Daily Mail is furious at the greed of the wealthy, why isn't the whole country out on the streets, rather than a few little pockets camping in the cold?

The answer is obvious, but for some reason is never spoken aloud. Despite the Occupy movement's catchy and evocative slogan, we aren't the 99%. But that's understandable, because "we are the 33%" doesn't carry quite the same moral punch.

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The Hangman’s Lottery 21

Posted on October 04, 2011 by RevStu

A couple of weeks ago, a group of state employees took a man called Troy Davis from his prison cell in Atlanta, Georgia to a small room and strapped him to a gurney. They inserted a needle into one of his veins, hooked up the needle to some tubes connected to a machine and, at a given signal, pressed a button on the machine in the full and clear knowledge that it would cause poisonous chemicals to be pumped into his bloodstream until he died of asphyxiation.

These people – every one of whom doubtless considered themselves an ordinary, decent, caring member of society, living in the most civilised and cultured country on Earth – participated willingly in the killing despite knowing that there was an enormous degree of doubt as to whether Davis was in any way responsible for the death of the man in whose name he was being executed.

Bafflingly, very few people found this behaviour at all odd.

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    Hello. I am the Rev. Stuart Campbell,
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