Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sleeping Out Under The Starbucks

Ironic, it was, to think that protesters of the bedroom tax, a policy that meant people losing housing benefit if they had a spare room, were about to spend a night sleeping rough outside a retail outlet known for paying virtually no tax in the UK. This was the first planned protest for a nationwide force of numbers but at 9:00pm the City of London had all of 15 protesters. If this was a sign of things to come then the will of the people would seem to be easily washed up.

But at least one of the protesters had travelled especially to London from Leicester, even though a similar sleepover was planned locally. There were a few people genuinely made homeless by the bedroom tax and with a couple of guitars and good company, the evening began in a cheerful mode.

One police transit van sat about 100 yards away where a couple of officers watched while awaiting the city police. The familiarly large dark blue van arrived and out came half a dozen or so officers. As the door pushed bak on the side of the van, I noticed the unfortunate blocking out of the beginning of the word ‘Police’. So as the officers spewed out of the van, the word ‘Lice’ was clearly visible.

The officers spoke to a number of the protesters, some of whom were the more vocal type and started to give the police some of the well worn phrases about being part of the corporation and that the government was corrupt etc; all perfectly true but sadly the protesters were trying to convince the wrong people. The police, who at the time numbered nearly half the protesters, did little more than talk and observe. One officer I spoke to expressed the early inset of boredom over the whole thing. These were officers having a hard day at the office with no particular political axe to grind.

Speaking of axes, the chant “Axe, axe the bedroom tax” interrupted the stead patter of rain over the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral under whose gaze there had been the ‘Occupy London‘ movement. The steps were clear tonight but who knows for how long if a sudden rush of protesters prove me wrong and fill the space between the shopping arcade and the Cathedral steps.

What I found concerning was how easy the emotional reason for challenging the status quo so easily became the reason why the challenge was in danger of failing. When I wrote in 2008 about Neptune’s ingress into Pisces, i said,

‘The historical evidence of the last four ingresses of Neptune into Pisces suggest a theme of rebellion by the people over the established authorities of the time. Therefore both religious and political belief systems must figure highly in what may come for us in 2012. Debt, death and hardship also figure quite prominently, not that they didn’t in other periods of world history but notable swings from the established way of life to something new seem to have emanated from them. There is no evidence of some cataclysmic change of events. If anything one can almost see the slow dissolution of old and outdated practices gradually coming to terms with a new set of ideals and conditions. Anything that Neptune has to offer is unlikely to come in with a bang. More likely it will trickle through the minds of the collective unconscious over a period of time, however, the changes may still be quite profound.’

So what I witnessed, even among the few who turned up early for the night, was the raw emotional outrage at the ‘wrongness‘ of the way the world was going. The bedroom tax was unfair because it penalised people on welfare benefit 14% of their rent cost if there was one spare room or 25% if there were 2 spare rooms, without offering alternative accommodation. It did not take into account that the council’s housing stock could not match those people most affected by the bedroom tax with appropriate housing. The government declared that people on benefit should get a job but there are also people who are working on low incomes (or people working part time and on ‘zero hours contracts’) that also have to suffer due to a lack of housing stock within local councils.

The government policy was patently unfair. Private rented accommodation in most cases were already too expensive, because the government had remove the rent cap on housing many years before. The most vulnerable were trapped and people with disabilities who were part of a couple - but needed to sleep separately - were penalised for having a disability.

It was easy to see how emotive reasoning rises up in favour of the much needed intellectual approach. Neptune may have a certain revolutionary quality to it but lacks the heady passion of Venus. In my opinion, I could see how the protests of 2013, of which this was the first, were going to play right into the hands of the oligarchy through huge amounts of energy spent breaking laws in some way. I could see many protesters succumbing to the judiciary system, convinced of the righteousness of their quest and being found guilty of crimes that offered nothing to the evolution of their ideals or to the cause they embarked upon.

But somehow this impossible confusion of passion and muddle headedness (in conjunction with a few economic disasters) might still be enough to prompt those in power to reposition their model of world power. So it is still necessary to sleep under the Starbucks for what little it might seem to do at the time. But Neptune drips tiny drops until a trickle of water turns into Niagra Falls. So every single person challenging the most dreadful oppression the Western world has seen for decades, is a valued voice against those who think we do not matter.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Big Society Against David Cameron

Mr Cameron, be careful what you wish for; you may get it. The Big Society is here and it is coming to get you.

According to Wikipedia, the big society was a flagship policy of the David Cameron manifesto to ...’create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a "big society" that will take power away from politicians and give it to people’.

Well, that is precisely what many protesters and activists are determined to do in November 2013 and I somehow doubt that Mr Cameron is going to be so keen to let go of the power the big society demands.

Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne nudged the British community closer together when they announced that we all needed to pay the debts created by banks. The Conservative party mantra “We’re all in this together” shouted from every available media outlet, as if by saying it repeatedly and often would make us believe it was true.

Contrary to Conservative propaganda, the Labour party did not leave us in a mess, the global greediness of corporate banks did that. But the Labour party did introduce capability  assessments for people who were sick and disabled via the incompetent ATOS company who hired unsuitable people, i.e the cheapest people with some claimable links to the medical profession, with a mandate to exclude as many people as possible from receiving benefit, thus making ATOS a profit. And the Conservative party turned the screw again, bringing together communities from all over the country where sick and disabled people have been abused.

Then Mr Duncan Smith capped housing benefit because there was no threshold for private rents. People on low incomes started to discover that the minimum wage was no longer a living wage. Huge areas of affluent housing areas were no longer affordable, pushing people into moving elsewhere, irrespective of the inconvenience for present work. And to make matters worse, he introduced a ‘room subsidy’ that the common people dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’. Once again the disabled were hit, where the need for an additional bedroom was required due to a health condition. Insufficient funds were released to cover these needs. Not only that but investigations reveal that people who would move to smaller accommodation to avoid paying the bedroom tax cannot because there are no smaller places to move to.

Then came the ‘workfare’ programme, pushing unemployed people into inappropriate work experience for no pay; not because, as they say, it helps them to find work. The simple reason for workfare is that is pushes unemployed people on long term (six months) benefit off the unemployment register to make the unemployment count less than it really is. It is a lie, a sham and a shame. So the big community among the unemployed was galvanised.

Then the emergence of ‘zero hours contracts’ spread like a disease throughout the world of work. Thousands of low paid workers managed to find some hours but nothing secure. The government loved the idea because they could claim that all these people had found work and their policies were working. But more importantly the people were not on the unemployment register but they were hardly employed either.

Then they tried closing down hospital accident and emergency units, illegally as it turns out. The local community in Lewisham (London) came out in full protest mode; The Big Society in action. In any event the government also opened up the National Health Service to forms of privatisation that threatens its very existence, trying to finish off what Labour's Private Finance Initiative started (The private construction of public buildings with extortionate financially crippling rent and maintenance contracts).

Don’t forget the Conservatives pushed up University fees and scrapped a subsidy to help young college goers to stay in education, bringing the young people together in full support against the government.

Then they cut all public sector jobs, ousting thousands of people from government and local government posts, whilst at the same time demanding severe cuts from local councils, which reduced funding for services such as social care. Once again the disabled and vulnerable were hit and communities fought to keep public libraries open.

When they said they would curtail bankers bonuses they didn’t. Then the independent body they created to assess MPs salaries decided to award them an 11% pay rise when the government had restricted other government workers to just 1%

And while the banks, taking full advantage of the reduction of the tax rate from 50p to 45p by delaying the payment of bonuses, wallowed in money, the rich, including the government (most of whom are public school educated and millionaires) continued to enjoy tax avoidance - perfectly legal - while appearing aggrieved that some big companies did not appear to paying much UK tax (apparently also perfectly legal).

There are sufficient grounds for any society to up and revolt at this egregious treatment, in the case of the UK by the Conservative Party. On the other hand, one must acknowledge that this is a coalition government.Yet the Liberal Democrats, who may be complicit in allowing so much penury to wash liberally over the populace are minor players - as any Conservative member or supporter will insist on telling you. Perhaps more execrable is the opprobrium of their continued synergy, and thereby a tacit agreement from the Lib Dems to all that has befallen the most vulnerable of our society.

But what is most startling is that all of the above stems from one really big item that has yet to make the news. The real economy is 8% of the ‘economy’ George Osborne speaks of. The debt crisis that started circa 2008 did not originate from the real economy. The debts we are paying for the money we have borrowed did not originate from the real economy. Which means that for the most part we can do without the 92% of George Osborne’s economy that started all this in the first place; none of which 99% of the people benefit from.

And it will be this stock market, casino bank money - created out of thin air by the banks - that will plunge the world into a money crisis far greater than the sub prime mortgage collapse. Every single indebted country will not be able to pay. The stock market knows it. The economists know it. The government knows it - but they don’t want to tell you.

Instead they make trouble by nipping at the masses here and there, trying to cause division and disgruntlement. But it hasn’t worked because the opposite has happened. The big society are coming together in a big way.

But some bits of news they might have distracted you from are quite important (and the main stream media have been terribly silent on what we might consider to be headline news). The biggest one, for example, is that the EU passed a law to enable governments to raid our personal bank accounts in the event of a banking collapse; something they would not do unless they were pretty certain it was going to happen. As everyone may now be aware, the markets are already jittery over the possible tapering of Quantitative Easing by the US Federal Reserve who, at the time of writing this (22 August 2013) have debated whether to begin tapering by September or December 2013. The subsequent interest rise may tip Japan into meltdown, like the Nuclear power plant in Fukushima - now designated a level 3 incident and a worse situation than Chernobyl. This financial concern is aside from the stock market derivative bubble collapse that is pending.

On 2nd November there is a mass march in London against corruption and austerity. And on 5th November there is a mass march in London against all of the above. This is something else government has been aware of and to assist in trying to keep things as quiet as possible, they have made into law all manner of restrictions for protesting around Parliament Square. But I feel sure that the big society can still make their presence felt without the need for a megaphone.

But this is only the beginning. The people of the UK cannot forgive the damage caused to the country by David Cameron and his party, punishing the poor for the transgressions of the rich. It is such an iniquitous act of perfidy, that if anyone had the slightest inclination to vote in the 2015 election (not that it would matter in the slightest to the economy and indeed it is important to emphasise that there are incredibly few candidates in Parliament today who would not quite happily continue the same old corrupt practices if elected) there would have to be a better reason than the constant petty detritus they have offered since the 1970s.

The Big Society is awake and it is very angry. Government as it runs today is as much in need of reform as is the economy. The political parties and how they are affiliated should be destroyed. The link between government and big business has all but assassinated the real economy: the small businesses, manufacturing, trades and commercial enterprise. The UK is run by powerful oligarchies who do not give a toss about us or how we could evolve unless they can make money out of it. That is why they have to be separated from government and the real economy.

In my humble opinion, I believe it is time that the people decide the manifesto of the government they want to represent them. And if the parties cannot deliver them, they should not be voted for. I know it sounds terribly trite but a ‘people’s party’ may be the only way to push aside those who would stand in the way of the kind of reform that would be meaningful to the ordinary person: the  living wage, renewable energy, taxes paid without excuses, an economy for real business and a complete segregation of casino banking, an end to usury... the list goes on. All of this is achievable once you remove the rich, the powerful and the greedy who are happy to block all of it.

Yes, the Big Society is very angry. But it is not driven by emotion alone. There is great thought and consideration into how we can repair the damage the oligarchs have inflicted on us (and by our apathy we have let them).  Positive Money is one such organisation with good ideas Small groups of activists are coming together under 'The People’s Assembly'the  to coordinate their efforts, like the planned mass protest at the Tory party conference in Manchester on 29 September 2013

So welcome to the Big Society Mr Cameron. You have succeeded in uniting the country under one determination - to stop you and the coalition from doing any more harm... ...and then to make sure that you or any other would-be-leader can never hurt us like this again. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Jupiter Pluto Opposition January 2014

This article covers the second of the three Jupiter Pluto Oppositions. The third article will cover the cardinal grand cross, of which the Jupiter Pluto opposition is a part of; although at this stage it may be hard not to see what is coming and not allude to it.

Writing this on 8th August 2013, just two days past the first Jupiter / Pluto opposition - with an active T square to Uranus, we already have on the UK news that the government is giving back to the National Health Service (NHS) £500 million ($776 million) to save its Accident and Emergency service from collapse. Also in a more bizarre link with Uranus to Jupiter in square, the recent spate of suicides of UK teenagers over bullying on a social network site prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to suggest that people use their power to ‘boycott’ sites that fail to protect its citizens.

If that’s the case, then I feel totally vindicated about suggesting to everyone the creation of a site where we, the people, get together and jointly boycott any company that gets greedy or puts our well being at risk. Think utility companies, banks, large retail outlets, companies using zero hours contracts, companies not paying tax etc. The greed right now is amazingly widespread and the masses (Pluto) of money (Jupiter) can be clearly seen (opposition) and if we are to redress the imbalance it must be subject to reform (Uranus). But the square from Uranus to both Jupiter and Pluto demands action, and that means that we must physically do something about it or physically suffer the consequences of not doing something about it; squares promote confrontation.

The first opposition will still reveal further inequalities until at least the end of August 2013 when it starts to move out of orb, so don’t consider the list above as exhaustive. Expect to see outmoded belief systems trundled out to solve 21st century problems. The more 2013 progresses, the more we will see that the same tired old policies have to be scrapped. We have to have new ideas for a new world.

So with this evidence already in your face, so to speak, we can say with confidence that the battle to redress these inequalities is no short term fix. The Jupiter Pluto opposition is running into some major configurations, which will be discussed further on. And even after this aspect has run its course by 2014, what it exposes will make you realise how big the global problem is and how long it will take all of us to resolve even some of it; We can’t leave it up to the politicians or the corporations because they created the problem. It is time to use social networking in a productive capacity, uniting people in each country under common, peaceful and purposeful goals that will thwart the greedy and power hungry people / corporations who are running this planet into the ground for short term profit. 100 years ago we had work place unions. Now we need internet unions.

So now let us have a look at the second Jupiter / Pluto opposition.

Jupiter is at 12 degrees of Cancer on 30 January, opposing Pluto and square to Uranus. These are three of the four planets that will make up the cardinal grand cross in April 2014.  Even without the missing arm the T square combination is pretty powerful (as described above) and should be considered independently of what happens a few months later. Notably the fourth element, Mars, will have to go retrograde to make the cross, which is not good news because the chances of success at anything in a retrograde Mars motion is low historically. That doesn’t mean we should give up. What it means is that maybe we should have started doing something about it earlier - like now but so few people can really see what is about to happen.

Jupiter’s retrograde motion begins on 7 November 2013 at 20 degrees Cancer and goes almost three degrees past the opposition point to Pluto before going direct again, meaning that, according to Barbault, the cycle will be in positive territory (+178 / +179), going stationary direct on 6 March 2014 before returning back into the negative territory on  21 April 2014 in time for the full impact of the cardinal grand cross. This short time in positive territory may herald false hope that everything will be ok - and perhaps it will seem like that until the Jupiter Pluto opposition makes a final appraisal and does not like what it sees. We should certainly not be fooled by the mendacity of politicians who will strive desperately to convince us that the green shoots of economic recovery are just around the corner. In fact I suspect they will try to tell us, in true Orwellian fashion, that black is white and any catastrophic event is merely a hiccup and actually proves we are on the road back to prosperity.

Also on 30 January is a New Moon at 10.55 degrees of Aquarius, midpoint between the transiting Pluto / Venus conjunction and transiting Chiron, highlighting perhaps the worsening unemployment, unfair taxes and the rising cost of living in the home. And still they will tell us that austerity is working. The New Moon trines the UK 1801 chart’s South Node, sitting most tellingly at the fourth point of the coming cardinal grand cross. And as the South Node is our bolt hole, and suggest that here is what we do habitually, the evidence indicates that government will attempt to present the country with the facade of ‘business as usual’ and the usual mantras of policies that have failed consistently to make a difference.

But transiting Saturn in the UKs second house starts to apply by square to natal Saturn in the 11th house, mounting pressure on the Parliament of the day to explain its plans for the wealth of the nation and if the nation does not prosper, what are they going to do about it? Additionally, with transiting Mercury at 29 degrees of Aquarius, but about to go retrograde in Pisces a week later (conjunct transiting Neptune and natal Pluto as it stations), the potential for arguments and meaningless waffle is high. Watch out for some creative statistics (not that they haven’t been used all along). Also expect more failing business ventures, perhaps with an emphasis on those linked with government contracts; Will Atos get their marching orders over health assessments for welfare claimants? We can but hope but events may yet squash this most egregious of government attempts to save money from benefit claimants.

Venus (commonly linked to finances) formed a loose cardinal cross on 22 August 2013 when it made conjunction by transit to UK 1801 Ascendant. Is this the point where people become more aware that the stock market derivative bubble is not going to last forever? By 20 September 2013, when transiting planets Venus conjuncts Saturn and trines Uranus, transiting Saturn will also sextile Pluto in the final run to the 2020 Saturn Pluto conjunction, thus completing a 33 year cycle started back in November 1982. So the Saturn Pluto cycle gives the world one last opportunity for damage limitation, but given the evidence so far, how much attention is the world prepared to pay?

By the second Jupiter Pluto opposition, Venus in transit will join transiting Pluto at the root of the 1801 chart, first on 15 November 2013 and then go retrograde to station direct just one degree ahead of Pluto around 31st January 2014. Fundamental financial changes will be demanded but with the transiting North Node and Saturn still in Scorpio, I suspect that any moves to prevent a global economic meltdown will be held in secret meetings, just as the world’s media has been deathly quiet about everything to do with the global financial meltdown and world protest against austerity. In addition, the UK 1801 natal Pluto will be midpoint between (and also conjunct) transiting Mercury (zero degrees Pisces) and Neptune (4 degrees Pisces). So will there in fact be secret talks about planning the gradual dissolution of long term commitments like the state pension? or indeed any other large institution that costs too much money, like the National Health Service or educational establishments? Will the transiting Venus / Pluto conjunction trigger a large scale sell off of the current state owned banks? This may be not so much a case of the government trying to make money as it is to reduce expenditure to the absolute minimum.

So 15 November 2013 could possibly trigger a stock market crash? Venus conjunct Pluto on the UK 1801 IC and natal Sun square Uranus on the UK Descendant. Transiting Saturn  is in a close enough conjunction with Natal Neptune and transiting Mars also applies to Neptune by a closing sextile. Transiting Jupiter is going retrograde and applying to natal Neptune by trine. Transiting Neptune also goes stationary direct on this day in a conjunction with natal Pluto, triggering the UK chart’s Yod configuration with natal Jupiter and Uranus.

With all this activity hitting natal Neptune in the UK chart’s second house of income, a significant event is likely. I am also aware that a demonstration is planned for a silent march protest on Westminster on 5th November. The demonstrators plan to remain in and around Parliament for as long as is possible. Society will no doubt be active in their demand for change. If the activism continues into 15 November then one could say that the revolution in the UK has begun.

Certainly the UK will be in the spotlight, with the transiting Jupiter / Pluto (venus conjunct)/ Uranus T square closely aspected to the UK 1801 chart angles. With transiting Uranus conjunct the natal North Node the emphasis will keep pounding away at the need to focus on reform. But with transiting Pluto on the IC, the UK government believes that this must be achieved by maintaining the status quo at home while demonstrating innovation and merit abroad. In addition it must show the world that the UK is successful; if there is one thing the UK government appears to be paranoid about it is how successful they appear to be seen by the world beyond its borders. Transiting Jupiter in Cancer on the MC demonstrates how a successful banking industry is seen as key to that success. But the Uranus square insists that the ‘masses of money’ undergoes a significant reform, particularly the outmoded administration and bureaucracy, the old school, the traditional we-always-do-it-this-way mindset. Clearly the UK financial hub is a crucial component to the GDP of the UK. So one wonders what drastic action may have to be taken when Mars goes stationary direct just 2 degrees from the UK Ascendant before coming back to form a T square with Uranus and Pluto? But that’s another story.

On 31st January 2014 I believe that the UK government will still fail to grasp (or at least will be seen that way) that we cannot continue down the same old path. With any luck though, more of the people who really matter, the little people like you and me, will be not only more aware of what is happening, but will be propelled out of the inertia and apathy so much relied upon by the corporate elite. The little people are going to have to take action, and peaceful but purposeful means need to be devised.

Next up, the third and last Jupiter / Pluto opposition and the much alluded to cardinal grand cross.