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brian's soapbox
APRIL 2015

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EXPERT OPINION - LETTERS

 

As always, the opinions expressed in these pages are purely and personally those of myself, Brian; they are not the official views of Queen, or of any other organisation or individual.

Reference:
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**Thu 23 Apr 15**
SKY AND MARCHING FOR ANIMALS TODAY
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Bri - lone selfie outside Sky News

Selfie: one lonely 8am campaigner grabs 5 minutes of notoriety on Sky One. Still smilin' but have an anger in me.

Today I'm marching for Animals. Notice those who have no compassion for animals have none for people either.

http://www.commondecency.org.uk Join us!

Bri

VIDEO: Brian May talks 'Common Decency' with Eamonn Holmes Sky News Sunrise 23 April 2015
- https://youtu.be/bIj-nm_COzw

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**Wed 22 Apr 15**
'COMMON DECENCY' TORCH SONG
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Now we have an official Common Decency song to sing.

Common Decency torch song

I had a great time at St Brendan's. Thanks you are a great bunch !

Appreciate all colours !!! But vote Colour Blind ! WE CAN DO THIS ! Join us at http://www.commondecency.org.uk

Bri

Multi-colour Common Decency Badge

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**Mon 21 Apr 15**
HALF A MILLION !!!!
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I think we should all be a bit proud !!

GUARDIAN
21 April 2015
Almost half a million people register to vote on final day

Midnight deadline

Bri X

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**Mon 20 Apr 15**
TIME IS RUNNING OUT ! REGISTER TO VOTE !!!
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Don't lose your voice ! REGISTER TO VOTE !!!

Do it on line .

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/registering-to-vote-and-the-electoral-register

Bri

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**Sun 19 Apr 15**
RADIO 5 LIVE, GUARDIAN DISCUSSION AND A GUY WORTH HEARING
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Today (Sunday) I will be on Radio 5 at1 10.15 am. Eek. Let's see how much I can remember at that time of the morning !

(Monday) I will be contributing to this discussion hosted by the Guardian. https://membership.theguardian.com/event/what-can-we-do-about-politics-16351430569

Also...

Five mins of your time. This independent guy is worth hearing. http://www.theprsd.co.uk/2015/04/17/independent-arthur-price-shines-bovey-tracey-hustings/ …
[Arthur Price at Bovey Tracey hustings]

He's also a friend and a great video director.

Bri

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**Sat 18 Apr 15**
LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER - WHY YOU NEED TO VOTE
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LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER TO VOTE !!! Job for today - Register, and make sure all your friends do it too !!!

www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The deadline to register to vote in the general election is 20 April 2015.

 

Dear WOMEN - why you need to vote: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/17/millions-women-fail-vote-suffragettes-suffer-vain

You are being marginalised - VOTE and vote for Common Decency.

Bri

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**Sat 18 Apr 15**
ASPIRATIONAL POLITICS

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We thought this was too important to leave [just] on the LETTERS page.

THOUGHTS ON PETER STRINGFELLOW'S "ASPIRATION" COMMENTS

Hi Brian,

Firstly, much kudos to you for all your efforts politically and for animal welfare - and of course for all the music the last 40 years I’ve been listening!

I watched the Big ideas spot you took part in on the BBC recently and some of Peter Stringfellow’s comments got me thinking; the word ‘aspirational’ is used so often these days to justify what is basically greed.

If you believe that those who can afford it should contribute accordingly, you’re accused of being ‘anti-aspirational’. We’re all supposed to be a part of the ‘aspiration society’.

I think this attitude is very pernicious. It assumes that the only outcome of aspiration is financial gain. People who aspire to help others, to invent things, to heal the sick, to teach, to grow things, to inspire - are never assumed to belong to the ‘aspirational class’; this class is reserved solely for those who strive at all costs to have more money than everybody else.

Indeed, the word ‘aspirational’ is used as a stick to beat down those who would promote values other than wealth.

Of course we should be promoting ‘aspirational’ people - we should laud anyone who aspires to achieve great things - to do good, to change the world, to help. But why is it that financial gain is ranked so high among those aspirations?

I’m all for Peter Stringfellow being able to enjoy his wealth. But if his chosen aspiration is simply accumulating money, he should realize that his contribution back to the society that allows him those opportunities is financial - and he should be taxed accordingly.

For those whose aspiration is to heal, to do social work, to teach kids, to paint, to mentor, to farm, to invent and on and on; they may never make as much money, but they should be praised and championed as the truly aspirational - and rewarded with our respect and thanks - and the added benefit of not paying so much tax.

Again thanks for all you’re doing - especially getting people talking and thinking,

Yours,
Matt Hackett
San Francisco

 

Bloody Hell, Matt - if you’ll pardon the expression.

Right on the button.

This is exactly the root of the evil in the Cameron kind of Conservative philosophy. The worth of everything is judged in terms of money.

 

Did we learn nothing as a human race over the last 2 thousand years ? Do we really still worship the false God of Money ?

To me, it’s a clear as day. And you have expressed it perfectly here. Big Ideas ? Well, as a species we’re great at earning and spending money … and covering the world with concrete … and using and abusing other species, and eliminating them if they are no use to us. But morally, aspirationally, in the true sense of the word, I believe we are bereft. We have lost the plot.

In a TV discussion like that one with Peter Stringfellow and Heather Rabbatts, I’m always trying to think on the hop, and catch hold of the points being made. I’m also trying to find spaces in the conversation to say what I believe, treading the fine line between assertive enough to be heard at all, and being over-aggressive towards the other panelists, and denying them their say. And TV time, when you’re truly live, runs about 5 times as fast as normal time - or even Radio time, I find. It’s all over in a flash. When I come off, and for days afterwards, I am doing ‘post-mortems’ in my mind, about what I could have said and didn’t. For instance, I didn’t actually say “Please visit www.commondecency.org.uk” to contribute to our scheme”. I wish I had, because, trying to explain how it worked, I was cut short.

But also I was caught quite unawares by Stringfellow’s “aspirational" word. When he launched into that, for the first few seconds I had no idea what he was trying to say. “Aspirational” to me is indeed a word about having dreams, about bettering oneself, achieving something great for the people around us. I think of people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King when I hear this word. By the time I realised that Stringfellow's kind of 'Aspiration' was just about making money (I should actually have known that up front), the moment had passed for me challenge his words. Maybe I have just not been keeping up with current Conservative buzz-words - in the world I inhabit, nobody takes any of the rhetoric from Cameron’s rich and privileged clique seriously. Sadly, because of the way the endless propaganda shouts at us, we’re encouraged to think that material wealth is all that is worth discussing in the run-up to the election.

Brian, Heather Rabbatts and Peter Stringfellow

I’m just going to quote your last paragraph verbatim … because it’s exactly what decent people need to be reinforced in believing:

"For those whose aspiration is to heal, to do social work, to teach kids, to paint, to mentor, to farm, to invent and on and on; they may never make as much money, but they should be praised and championed as the truly aspirational - and rewarded with our respect and thanks - and the added benefit of not paying so much tax."

To me this is the kind of insight that ought to be governing our next parliament. I believe it would be perfectly possible to tax heavily all wealth made which does not benefit society … from the banks and the iniquitous Hedge Funds all the way down to greedy swindling landlords. And I would, as you say, reward people who do great selfless work by giving THEM tax-breaks, and better wages. Maybe we’ll start with the Nurses !

"Indeed, the word ‘aspirational’ is used as a stick to beat down those who would promote values other than wealth."

Yes. Through Common Decency, let’s try to change that.

Thanks !

Bri

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**Fri 17 Apr 15**
WHY OUR COMMON DECENCY CAMPAIGN MIGHT JUST FIX BRITISH POLITICS
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Polling Station

Why Common Decency? What’s it all about? Well, it’s not a political party. It’s a plan to give us a Britain free of the corruption and inequality which is driving us all mad – a Britain in which our voice will truly be heard.  

Many people have asked me why I decided not to stand as an MP in the coming election. I hope this will explain. I’m hoping to achieve something that could not be done by standing for election. I treasure my “colour blindness’ as regards political parties. I believe there are good, decent MPs in every party.  But too many – a majority – of the current MPs are sitting there, arrogantly ignoring our wishes, following party lines, and blurring the edges of what is decent behaviour in an elected representative. Over the last five years lobbying in Portcullis House and in the Parliament building itself, we have seen close-up how Parliament really works.  We have seen debates for which only a handful of MPs turn up, followed by a division bell signifying a vote, upon which hordes of MPs swarm out of the bar and the restaurant, or wherever they’ve been hanging out - with no idea of what they’re voting on, but obeying the party whips.  This is democracy ? We have seen debates brought about by petitions on the Government’s own website, not least our own petition, eventually signed by over 300,000 people who were disgusted by David Cameron’s doomed badger cull.  Following these debates we have seen votes carried against Government policy, yet the ministers involved openly showed their indifference and contempt, and carried on as if nothing had happened.  We see inequality everywhere.  We see the poor getting poorer - we see the rich, protected by Cameron’s clique, getting richer, through exemptions from taxes and even, shockingly, through government subsidies to their businesses - for instance the cruel bird-shooting industry.  We see MPs voting on issues in which they have a financial interest, or family links - and this is democracy ? We hear ministers telling us the National Debt has been halved, when in fact it has increased over the last five years.  

Outside in the street we meet people everywhere who are disgusted and disillusioned with the behaviour of MPs, but who feel that voting is a waste of time … since the ‘first past the post’ electoral system ensures that their single vote can make no difference if they live in a ‘safe seat’ constituency.  There is an old saying that if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it.  Right now we are seeing thousands of billboards going up, shouting propaganda at us.  They all cost money.  The Green Party last time spent roughly 325 thousand pounds on their entire election campaign.  The Conservative party spent … ?  Guess ?  Over 14 million pounds.

That’s fair, is it ? That’s the kind of democracy we want ? And this funding was provided by obscenely rich sponsors - the very people whose riches are protected by Cameron’s gang.  Surprise, surprise !  It’s going on as we speak.  You and I have just 15 hours every five years to influence Government policy by our vote.  Powerful business interests influence policy every day.  There are so many abuses I am running out of space, but you can read more on the Common Decency website. 

After you’ve realised how shocking the truth really is, and if you agree with our conclusion that things are desperate enough to warrant a radical change, read on!  What do we do about it?  I believe I have a scheme which could give us a better Parliament on May 7th, the first step towards eliminating the corruption which is depriving all of us of our voice and robbing us of the democracy we deserve.  Here is a quick summary of the Common Decency plan:  

1) Even if you think it’s a waste of time, VOTE! In the past, so many of us have not actually got as far as the polling booth because we perceived our constituency as a ‘safe seat’, and felt that our one vote would make no difference. I believe not just that we all ought to vote because people died to give us that right; more than that, I believe if we all adopt the Common Decent strategy on 7 May, even safe seats can be toppled, creating a new kind of parliament. 

2) Vote colour-blind; ie don’t worry about which political party you’re voting for - look for the person who will actually listen to your views and represent you in parliament. Assess them on the basis of the ‘Pillars of Common Decency’ (listed on the Common Decency website home page).  We are talking about a commitment from MPs to vote according to their constituents wishes and their moral conscience rather than what the whips tell them to do.  Question your candidates.  Ask them if they will protect the National Health Service from being sold off to businesses for profit.  Ask them if they will support the Hunting Act to protect wild animals against sadistic blood sports.  Ask them if they will support badger culling when all the evidence tells us it can only make the bovine TB problem worse.  Ask them if they will work for reform in the House of Commons.  If they have already been in the House, find out if they turned up for debates, and how they voted … for their own advancement in their party, or according to your wishes … you who put them there.  

3) Then give us feedback via the Common Decency site … tell us your decision - who you think is most decent - and why.  
  
4) Look at the pie chart for your constituency on our CD website (it’s in “May 7th 2015 – search constituencies to find your MP”). Notice what happened last time.  Look at how many people DIDN’T vote last time – and realise that, of the power of the non-voters could be unleashed, no seat would really be safe, and no vote would wasted.  But to achieve this, we need to coordinate our efforts.

4) LOOK FOR OUR ADVICE on May 7th to confirm the best strategy – we will be advising on the basis of the feedback we’ve received and what we think will produce the best result for a new compassionate order for people, and animals in Britain.   

5) TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS (who also think their vote would be wasted) to do the same !  If EVERY former non-voter in Britain followed this course (including me!), we would definitely turn the whole system upside down. In reality we will not succeed in every case, but the more people that come on board, the more we will achieve - hopefully enough to secure a new standard of behaviour in Government.  

How will this work? Breaking the vice-like grip of the outdated Two-Party system, and putting instead a mix of decent MPs of all 'colours' in that ancient House of Commons will make sure that issues have to be discussed honestly and fairly, according to what is best for the public, rather than what is best for one all-powerful political party. That’s how we get our VOICE back! Once this new order is in place, we can REALLY get to work reforming Britain … rooting out the rotten core of unfairness which dominates our whole lives.
JOIN US !  

Edited version published in THE GUARDIAN
17 April 2015

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**Thu 16 Apr 15**
KERRY - CATS AT THE PALLADIUM
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Brian attended a performance of Cats in London tonight.. 16 April.

AMAZING Kerry in Cats at the Palladium.

MEMORY is probably the best 4 minutes of Musical Theatre vocal performance you'll ever see.

Bri

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**Thu 16 Apr 15**
A GOOD LIFE - UNLESS...
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Ooh ! Yep, it's a good life - unless you're poor, sick, disabled, or an animal.

Let's all have a good laugh.

Bri

Telegraph

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**Thu 16 Apr 15**
ONE VOICE VIDEO SECRETS
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[In reply to another guess at a video secret - SEE LETTERS]

YES !! You are very observant !!

It’s ALL us. We constructed the ‘audience’ with multiple takes of us waving retro lighters. A bit like what we did, as a young Queen, all those years ago for the Bohemian Rhapsody ‘operatic’ section (and they both feature multi-tracked vocals, which the visuals mirror) - but a little different !

So - well done you ! Would you like a prize? (I think I promised?) A Common Decency T-shirt ? CD Badge ?!! Rainbow coloured ?

Cheers and thanks

Bri

Kerry with 'audience'

Kerry with 'audience'
CLICK HERE for larger image

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