Anti-Austerity Rally Speech

It’s so heartening to see so many people here. I’m not going to take up much of your time. But I do want to talk to two specific groups today. The first is those economists, academics, journalists, lawyers, public figures, celebrities, artists, who consider themselves progressive. We need to stop genre defining our politics, and harking back to old ideologies, and start talking about the future of government, the future of democracy, our children’s future; how we can be innovative in our thinking, how we can captivate the attention of the disengaged demographics, and how we can re-engage those at the most disaffected desperate fringes of society who were convinced to vote for a new-age fascist party by “Chicken Licken” trickery from an ale-swilling, pinstripe, Enoch Powell.

One of the main reasons so many young people are turning towards the agendas of consumerist capitalism, is that it’s advocates have embraced the language of positivity even whilst championing the most radical deconstruction of society. David Cameron’s neoliberal vernacular is aspirational, it rewards entrepreneurship, there’s a romanticism about it. When I was a kid that romance was always a lefty thing. This model of capitalism is built on aspiration and driven by innovation. But my God, is it destructive. On the flip side of laissez-faire economics is the big lie, that this country needs tough management, harsh decision making, austerity. What this country needs is economic stimulation, most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping, and that cannot be achieved by stringing tourniquets around the limbs of social welfare. If a mother cannot afford to feed both her children does she choose one to feed and leave the other to starve? Of course she doesn’t. She will go without until those children are able to feed themselves. That is civilised, and moral. The fact remains that whilst those whose lives depend on the benefits they receive, those less fortunate people, that the Daily Mail would call scroungers, whilst they have their welfare severed, the government will sell off it’s stake, our stake in Royal Bank of Scotland at a scandalous rate so that their buddies in big business can turn over millions in profit from it within a matter of hours. They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. And once it’s done it will be very difficult to reverse.

One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package. I’m proud to be British because of our National Health Service, the welfare system, and David Bowie, not cos of the Union Jack! Nationalism has worked wonders for the Scots because it’s galvanised them against the Westminster elite. But rarely does pure nationalism have a positive effect, and more often than not it serves to veil racism. I’m not saying don’t be proud, I’m saying be proud for the right reasons.

We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from decades of Yuppie rule. And the way we do that is with fresh ideas, positive messages, new theories, engaging art, and more public figures sticking their heads above the parapet.

The second group I want to talk to today – is those who will be effected by austerity; austerity, that Cameron says should be a “permanent” aspect of British economics. Every single person in the country will be effected by austerity. Public services are needed by everybody. We all contribute, whether we can monetarily or not. Because contribution is not solely a fiscal matter, it is cultural, community based, academic, it is friendship, it is love. If you are a disabled person, unable to work, whose benefits are in danger of being cut, don’t you dare think that you don’t contribute. You’re existence brightens the lives of other people every single day, and that is worth so much more than the ability to pay tax. If you feel ashamed that you have to use a food bank because this government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall, you have the moral high ground.  There is only one way to fight the onslaught of crusading austerity, and that is to come together in unity. I want to urge everyone: go out into your communities and meet your neighbours. Find out what they think and try to see things from their point of view. If you can afford to offer help to those in society who need it, just do it. Don’t unfriend all those on Facebook who post things that you disagree with; challenge them, engage them in debate, but kindly and with reason on your side. You never know, you might just change someone’s opinion. And more than anything we need to keep on pressuring the establishment into hearing our voice. Today has been fantastic but it is only the beginning.

Ultimately the government’s endgame isn’t cutbacks to pay off debt. What they want to do is completely restructure our economy, shrivelling the public sector and selling our democracy to private companies, in the form of TTIP, academies, G4S controlled prisons. It is an idealogical plan that is irreversible. Let us remember that the NHS was born at a time when the national debt to GDP ratio was significantly larger than what it is now. Let’s show the government that we are not afraid of national debt and we will not allow our public services to be attacked. Because everybody needs them, whether you are black, asian, white, homosexual , bisexual, transgender, questioning, disabled, able-bodied, autistic, well-educated, a drop-out, muslim, sikh, hindu, christian, jewish, buddhist, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, an immigrant, a small business owner, a single mother, a single father, a childless couple, a child without parents, a nuclear family, a police officer, a politician, a journalist, a C.E.O, unemployed, a teacher, a nurse, a brain surgeon, a student, a convict, a pensioner, an under-18, whether you claim benefits, whether you pay taxes, we all need a strong public sector. And if we keep on keeping on they will not be able to ignore us. We will not be silenced.

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Anti-Austerity Rally Speech

48 thoughts on “Anti-Austerity Rally Speech

  1. Pete Hewitson says:

    Thank you, Charlotte, for having the guts to tell the truth even though the right-wing media will no doubt vilify you for it. A working class hero is something to be! Thousands love you for what you are doing so please keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said. . .but sadly self is generally at the core of human nature and power tends to corrupt, so things have a habit of going wrong. National Debt at some point needs addressing but fairly. Good luck buts its always going to be like fighting fog…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said. I’m with you on most of this, and I hope many others are, too.

    I’d disagree on some basics of how you see this working, and especially on the resources our public services are able to have even in a better run economy. But your main point definitely needs saying – we need the economy to move, not stagnate through austerity, for the sake of everyone in society.

    To put it another way, I believe there are some very important points you’re missing, as I’ve said before, and that’s skewing how you see the current political and social situation. But I applaud your concern and most especially your values.

    (One minor point that I hope does’t come across as nitpicking. I know how apt the press and others are to criticise you for the slightest excuse. I’d suggest you re-check the spelling and grammar. There are some minor mistakes that I know you wouldn’t normally have made, and some idiot from the press is likely to inflate them out of all proportion. We both know what they’re like.)

    Keep on. You’re doing brilliantly.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tom says:

    Was an absolute pleasure marching with everyone today. Very interesting meeting like minded individuals and having some good debates. Great atmosphere. Hopefully that will have had some impact and we can continue to rise up against these short term conservative ideas and make a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Hi Charlotte a met u today and would like to thank you agian for making my day posing for a selfy it’s great to see the Celtic nations showing solidarity with our English brothers and sisters check my mention of you in my article in my blog click link below
    https://bampotsutd.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/famous-celts-against-cutsa-london-march-200615/
    Keep fighting the good fight the people appreciate your support and as a big chunky mark fan it was nice to see you give him a interview
    King regards kick from Glasgow !

    Like

  6. Can’t believe I’m about to write this but well done. In a culture of bland fingers-in-their-ears celebrities living inside a bubble, this is a rare but welcome contribution to the real debate. I might not start buying your records (well, not until you do a duet with Nick Cave) but I’ll definitely keep visiting your blog. Congratulations for being one of the good people, so different to the general population who rarely contribute, create, or even seem to care.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. David TAYLOR says:

    As expected you wish to gloss over the fact that it was the previous Labour governments totally irresponsible , and incompetent handling of all matters financial, that put us in this position in the first place. I,m afraid austerity has been necessary, and it will take longer than the 5 years so far, for the country to be put back on the correct path. 250,000 marchers is a drop in the ocean. Most British people don’t agree with you, and in an election held just a few weeks ago they proved that they are far from stupid, and can see the future in a realistic way, and not a rose tinted spectacles way. By the way, if celebrities like yourself and Russell Brand want to get angry about something, why don’t you get angry about the completely unfair and undemocratic system of voting that we now have in this country. Everybody,s vote should count, not just yours and not just mine. How is it fair when roughly 4 million voters get 56 or 57 members of parliament , whereas two other parties ( Green and UkIP ) also get roughly 4 million votes and yet get just 2 members of parliament, This is the real cause to be angry, and I,d walk besides you to protest about that. You may not agree with the policies of UKIP or the Greens, but its not all about you or me is it . Democracy is democracy.

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    1. with respect david wasnt it the financial incompetence of the bankers that led to the biggest drain on the UK’s financial resources ie the last labour government had to spend tens of billions of public money shoring the major banks up or they would have collapsed (osbourne’s now in the process of flogging them back to his rich pals at a knockdown price of course). but it was the wrecklessness of millionaire bankers that caused most of the national debt, and its the poor who are now paying for that in the form of austerity. youre right tho to highlight the iniquities of the current voting system and how it discriminates against parties like the greens. also under PR there’d never be another majority tory government again. So we should be supporting a reform of the voting system along with supporting the brilliant and fast growing anti austerity movement.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. As expected you wish to gloss over the fact that it was the previous Labour governments totally irresponsible , and incompetent handling of all matters financial, that put us in this position in the first place. I,m afraid austerity has been necessary, […]

      None of that is true. People should be very angry indeed about austerity and the deceit that’s facilitated it and other horrors.

      Like

  8. Warren Hill says:

    Well said Charlotte, I have to disagree with you slightly in that we do have to reduce the deficit and start to reduce the debt – at least in the medium term but austerity is not the way to achieve this. We have already had 5 years of austerity and the deficit has increased not reduced.

    This government is lying to us: its aims are to concentrate wealth in the hands of the rich and sod the poor, the sick and everyone else.

    How then do we deal with thee deficit?

    1. Close tax loopholes – Make the super-ritch pay their fair share of tax.

    2. Sieze the assets of people and corporations that have made their money though illegal means. We already do this in the case of drug dealers for example, but why not the bankers who have systematically defrauded us all with LIBOR and FOREX being just two obvious examples. Many of the newspapers used phone hacking so they need to be targeted too.

    3. A more progressive tax system, with those of us earning more paying more.

    4. We don’t need a replacement for Trident – we would never be stupid enough to use it so why waste the money?

    With the savings highlighted above we could easily reduce our debt while simultaneously putting more much needed money into welfare, the NHS and education.

    Almost forgot, scrap the civil list. I am not proud to be British because I am a subject of her majesty but because of the compassion you and a quarter of a million more showed by marching yesterday and organisations such as the NHS.

    I couldn’t make it down my self but would have been proud to stand alongside any body there and will be doing so at future demonstrators.

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  9. Well done & good for you! You write with such passion & that’s what’s missing. I find people generally feel so disheartened & disengaged with politics. And that’s key to the Tories keeping power, along with making sure people feel alienated from one another. It’s absolutely right that we need to engage within our communities. As a mother of 3 young children I am genuinely worried about what kind of country they’ll be growing up in. Thanks for standing up!

    Like

  10. pareddownlife says:

    Well done, Charlotte: it takes courage to speak truth to power. We need to open our eyes and think for ourselves… we are a very rich country but all the money and resources are concentrated at the top which keeps the majority of the population relatively poor, no matter how hard they work. Keep on speaking up for change.

    Like

  11. stuart says:

    Well done Charlotte: austerity is a construct that is designed to benefit the banking system. As the government removes spending/money from the private sector, the private sector is forced to borrow from the banking sector to make good their shortfall in income. Other than the government the banking sector is the only sector that can create money/ new purchasing power. This is done by creating bank deposits when they issue a loan. This is brand new money created out of thin air and not from any pre-existing balances.

    The truth is the government has the power to create money for the public good and spend it as agreed by mandate of their manifesto. Over the centuries the government has given this power to private banks for profit. We are experiencing the grotesque inequality of this process as the majority of the loans are created for financial speculation and mortgages. Hence the national obsession with house prices and the rampant rise of the stock market with the low underlying real growth.

    Have a look at the work of Positive Money et al. This is an enormous power that needs to be removed from the banks and brought back to the public oversight and democratic

    Like

  12. Ray Greenwood says:

    I wonder if the NHS is under such a strain because of the influx of migrants?Matbe they are also putting a strain on the social services.Maybe I’m right,but I guarantee you will all say I am racist.Wel for your information I am not,I AM A PATRIOT and it’s about time people learnt to differentiate between the two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray, I’m responding to what you’ve said because I certainly agree with you on this. It’s clearly a matter of logistics. I find it amazing that so many people try to deny the obvious and scream `racist’ and so on when someone points out basic facts of logic. Resources aren’t infinite – it would be wonderful if they were, but they aren’t. The Green Party especially should appreciate that point, but they seem to have lost the plot, sadly. I studied and practiced Buddhism for many years, which is based on compassion and the will to relieve suffering, and even in that context there’s a central recognition that compassion has to be exercised along with wisdom, based on seeing reality as it is. So you’re certainly not alone here with the views you’ve expressed.

      Like

  13. […] “It is an ideological plan that is irreversible. Let us remember that the NHS was born at a time when the national debt to GDP ratio was significantly larger than what it is now. Let’s show the government that we are not afraid of national debt and we will not allow our public services to be attacked. Because everybody needs them, whether you are black, asian, white, homosexual , bisexual, transgender, questioning, disabled, able-bodied, autistic, well-educated, a drop-out, muslim, sikh, hindu, christian, jewish, buddhist, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, an immigrant, a small business owner, a single mother, a single father, a childless couple, a child without parents, a nuclear family, a police officer, a politician, a journalist, a C.E.O, unemployed, a teacher, a nurse, a brain surgeon, a student, a convict, a pensioner, an under-18, whether you claim benefits, whether you pay taxes, we all need a strong public sector. And if we keep on keeping on they will not be able to ignore us. We will not be silenced.” (Link to the transcript of her entire speech: https://charlottesayshmmm.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/anti-austerity-rally-speech/) […]

    Like

  14. Reblogged this on Ellen Watts and commented:
    Singer Charlotte Church has become increasingly politically active since the General Election, making her anger at the Conservative government and their austerity policies known. On June 20th she gave a speech at The People’s Assembly protest against austerity. This is the transcript, posted on her blog. You can also watch her address the crowd of anti-austerity protestors here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_Vk2EAT8go

    Criticism of Church has intensified since this much publicised speech, with continued accusations that she’s a hypocritical champagne socialist being served up with a predictable sad side dish of misogyny. This week I’ll write a post about the reaction to Church’s turn to anti-austerity activism, asking whether her case demonstrates that it is impossible for a celebrity speaking out on political issues to be seen as authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Absolutely brilliant and perfectly worded. Well done and thank you.

    Please continue to ignore the criticism. In Britain we have a horrible tradition of criticising any celebrity who stands up for those in need. With you and Russell Brand the protests would be far less visible and much easier to wash over in the press.

    Awesome work.

    Like

  16. Graham Funnell says:

    We now have the highest income tax rates since Labour were voted out in 1979. The highest standard rate of VAT ever. I agree we need a strong
    public sector, so how would she propose to pay for it all ? Introducing still more taxes will not win masses of votes, because we are being taxed
    too heavily already. Tax over-kill also drove many of the really wealthy abroad during Labour’s term of office in the 1970’s. This time it would happen
    much faster. So c’mon Charlotte, how WOULD you pay for it all ? Leaving the EU is the only viable alternative. I say this as a business-person,
    we would not lose much EU business – that is just a fallacy spread by self-serving politicians. We also need to give migrants work-visa’s only, not
    passports or the ability to bring their huge number of non-working dependants with them, as at present.

    Like

  17. Dan says:

    There was that whole Andy Gray, Richard Keys thing? Where the greatest protestors for freedom of speech and privacy were suddenly waving pitchforks demanding people were sacked for saying something in private?

    And everytime you switch on TV, someone is ranting about racism, sexism or religious hatred…. And yet it’s actually quite fashionable (amongst the left) to offend as many Christians, Jews, Russians and Americans as they can?

    To force elderly Christians to allow homosexuals to have anal sex in their homes (and not only that but to then humiliate them and gloat in the national media)? Would common sense not have been the fairer option? Ie “from now on in if you open a B&B” ?

    And yet you seriously expect people over 40 (with children) to listen to your double standards?

    Unless you learn to respect your enemy, I’d get used to a tory government.

    Like

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