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Every Day is April Fools Day Now

April Fools Day began in France in the middle of the 16th century when they changed from the Julian calendar – New Year’s Day April 1 – to the Gregorian calendar – New Year’s day January 1. Those who were ignorant of the change continued to celebrate New Year on April 1 and were laughed at and called fools .

But now we are all April Fools because Covid has changed everything but we are being urged to go back to ‘normal’, to life as it used to be without accepting that things are now so different that we can’t go back. People are being asked to adapt to a ‘new normal’ without really knowing what that is. To our governments the new normal looks just like the old normal because they can’t face the magnitude of the required changes.

One thing that Covid has laid bare is that our environment is so trashed that viruses can now leap from stressed animals to people. Covid is a wake-up call. The Earth is in revolt against us for having created a climate crisis which has thrown Gaia ( the Earth) out of balance. Hence wildfires, flooding , tornadoes, excess rain, excess drought, melting ice caps, rising sea levels. A real life disaster.

To avoid more pandemics and to heal the Earth are not only the same fight but also the most important fight of today. Are we really engaging in this struggle or are we, like April Fools, trying to live by the old rules when they no longer make sense.

To move forward we need leaders who understand that we need radical changes to how we live and work and who can give us a plan to make those changes. But we also need individuals who are willing to make serious life changes. Habit is a powerful inertia, holding us back from making lifestyle changes .

If we can’t find those leaders , if we fail to make these changes then we face a growing instability that will cost millions of lives and untold suffering . Gaia, the Earth, will eventually recover but we will pay a huge incalculable price if we are unable to adapt in time . End of sermon.

January 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

The Virus That Ate Christmas

youtube.com/watch

This is Dreambird’s Christmas film – loathed by anti-vaccers

December 18, 2021 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

Give a Man a Fish

Maimonides wrote,

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day,

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

This is a truth about  education and opportunity. Teaching is education, and without education you have no skills to find food for yourself. But opportunity, the freedom to use the skills you have acquired, may not be there. Unless jobs are available (not McJobs) then why bother getting an education. This is the situation in many parts of the country, and its that kind of deprivation that led many people to vote Brexit.

Will the government try to fix this? It’s doubtful they will really try, because to really try means to change utterly the way society operates at present.

How does society operate at present ? Ask our fishermen and women . Their rotting fish will tell you . And in 50 years there may not be any fish to catch . We are destroying wildlife in an unprecedented way and that destruction breeds conditions for more viruses to emerge.

Gaia, the earth, does not need us . It will recover its health if we are gone, like removing a cancer from the body. But we don’t have to go, we don’t have to disappear ( like the Neanderthals) if we decide to change . Because it does seem that the choice is self-destruct or survive. But to survive we have to change . And now, after a pandemic which has already changed many settled customs, is the right time to make these changes , to follow through on creating a kind of life that will sustain the planet and all the creatures on it , including us.

As Auden prophetically wrote “We must love one another, or die.”

August 30, 2021 at 10:27 am Leave a comment

Advice for another lockdown

July 28, 2021 at 9:17 am Leave a comment

The Virus That Ate Christmas

I’m very pleased to announce our Christmas music video. The Virus that Ate Christmas is the story of Cyrus the Virus (dancer and choreographer Brendon Hansford in a great mask and costume ) versus Santa (played by Richard Evans-Thomas) for the soul of Christmas, The music for the video is Silent Night composed by Ben Fingerhut and sung by Steph Callard. The director is my partner in Dreambird Studios Nathan Neuman.

We managed to shoot the video in the middle of December after we finished the main shoot of #valentinesday, our forthcoming feature film. We had to rush the post to get it out before Christmas which we just about managed.

I’m very happy with the final result, which I hope will bring some laughs (and perhaps a tear or two) to people who are living through the saddest Christmas in living memory. It’s almost a public service video in that Santa is clearly not an anti-vaxxer. See what you think.

December 26, 2020 at 11:34 am Leave a comment

History Explains Why The UK Was Not Prepared for Covid-19

Mark Forstater's Blog

In the last 100 years, Britain has faced 3 existential crises. The first was 1914 at the start of the 1st world war, the second 1939 at the beginning of the 2nd and the latest one – Brexit/ Covid-19 is not even a war at all (but has the potential to turn into one- a civil war). Each of these crises shows a persistent pattern to British decision making, and it’s worth remembering what they are.

In 1914 when the 1st WW started, Britain had only 4 months’ supply of acetone. Acetone is needed to make cordite, which is a missile propellant, and without a supply the war would have been over in 6 months. None could be bought because the Germans had monopolised the supply. The government turned to a chemistry lecturer in Manchester named Dr Chaim Weizmann who had synthesized acetone from grain in 1912 and asked him…

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April 29, 2020 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

A Cultivator’s Diary Pt 6 (from my journals 2007)

Mark Forstater's Blog

February 11, 2007

I read an article by Melanie McFadyean about her grandfather, Herbert Guttman from Berlin, whose father started the Dresdner Bank. Guttman went from an 80 room villa in Berlin to homelessness in London in 1939, but his attitude was “Money lost, nothing lost. Sense of humour lost, everything lost“. This is the right attitude to have in your current situation, where you are starting to worry about how you can fund everything. But this will all work out. Have faith.

February 24

I hope my energy improves soon. It’s now almost two weeks since I got ill and I hate the feeling of low energy, low enthusiasm and tiredness. It’s no good for work or life.

February 25

When you get ill, you realise how dying will feel, and you sense how old you are. What if you never recovered from this tiredness? Illness leads…

View original post 240 more words

April 5, 2020 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

Monty Python’s Dark Side

On Friday I’m going to the BFI Southbank to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which I produced in 1974. I had to buy my own tickets because the BFI never bothered to inform me of the screening. I assume the reason they have left me in the cold is that the Pythons asked them not to invite me. This is quite a long story, but the short version is that after Spamalot came out, the Pythons decided that the royalties they had been paying me for 30 years was wrong and they slashed my royalties by 50%. I tried to negotiate and mediate my way out of this white collar theft but they were adamant that I had been cheating them for 30 years. After 7 years of haggling and getting nowhere I had no alternative but to take them to court, and I won the case, but at a terrible cost to my health and finances. The trial cost the Pythons £ 1.3m and they put on their 02 reunion to recoup that loss. Ever since then, they have done their best to erase me from their history. If you want to read more about the dark side of Python read my book The 7th Python which tells the sorry tale (www.the7thpython.com). The worst part of the experience for me was the fact that neither Terry Gilliam, a fellow film student when we shared a flat in NYC or National Treasure Michael Palin were willing to say to Eric Idle – let’s not do this. Why do I single out Eric? He revealed his hatred of me at the trial and called me ungrateful for trying to defend myself. Eric once put on a one man show called The Greedy Bastard Tour – this really says it all. In the book I include parts of Eric and Michael’s cross examination which is revealing of another side to them. I’m going to the screening because I’d like to view the film on a big screen again and to see Neil Innes, who is a friend. What bothers me the most is how petty this is of the Pythons, and how the BFI, our guardians of film culture, went along with this insult. After the trial I received this anonymous poem:

With a little grudge, with a little grudge
Open your purse ‘cause you’ve been defeated
With a little nudge from the trial judge
You’re worth’s slightly worse but not depleted

Sorry if it’s dumb to say
You’ve done all right in your lives
Really, is the sum you’ll pay
Worth such a fight in your lives

And though you feel rotten that he has won
Still I say don’t appeal, say that the deal is done
Is it just a grudge, just a little grudge
Hope the little nudge from the judge
Helps erase the grudge

With a little grudge, with a little grudge
Open your purse ‘cause you’ve been defeated
With a little nudge from the trial judge
You’re worth’s slightly worse but not depleted

Sorry if it’s dumb to say
You’ve done all right in your lives
Really, is the sum you’ll pay
Worth such a fight in your lives

And though you feel rotten that he has won
Still I say don’t appeal, say that the deal is done
Is it just a grudge, just a little grudge
Hope the little nudge from the judge
Helps erase the grudge

September 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

A New You Resolution from Cleo

My daughter Cleo posted two messages this week that I thought were very good. One was a kind of New Year resolution, or maybe it should be called a New You resolution because it’s about Cleo’s new feeling of the joy of being, and the potential of what life can become. It’s a mission statement for herself, a prayer for the love that she has for herself and for the world.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdQQkgPhyCL/?taken-by=cleoforstater

The second is a Christmas message, much more poetic and touching than the Queen’s. You could say this the Goddess’ Christmas message. It is touching and beautiful. It is based on a Christian view, but if goes beyond that as it overflows with love for life, and enters you with the truth of her feeling.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdISDzSBs0r/?taken-by=cleoforstater

 

December 30, 2017 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Is Labour in Danger of Becoming the New Nasty Party? An Open Letter To Jeremy Corbyn

Dear Jeremy

I was pleased that you came out with such a strong statement on sexual abuse and harassment. It was long overdue. But there is another form of harassment – in fact there are three kinds of harassment – that you have not stood up forcefully against. Allowed to continue, this abuse and harassment will turn your party into a nasty party, and you will not get elected as PM.

But before I list them, let me say that I would like to see you become the next PM. I admire the vision enshrined in your manifesto, which is so attractive, clear and understandable. A government that sets out to achieve even a few of those aspirations would be welcome, since change in our society is sorely needed. I watched your annual conference and found it full of positive spirit and energy. This is because you have given people hope after so many years of fear and anxiety.

But there are problems in your party that you need to deal with now. There is a level of vitriol and abuse emanating from the left wing of the Party which if it is allowed to go unchecked will become a hindrance to your aims, and will create the image of a nasty party which will stop you getting elected.

I base my opinion on a number of incidents from the past year. One is the problems is Anti-Semitism, which has not been dealt with adequately. The second is abuse directed at some of your own women MPs by other Labour members and the third is abuse directed at Tory candidates by Labour supporters. Each one of these shows a clear pattern of unpleasant and uncalled for harassment, which is harmful to your cause, and will repel a great number of voters.

The Anti-Semitism problem was poorly addressed by the Chakrabarti report although at conference the party did adopt a new standard to judge Anti-Semitism. This was a positive move, but the missing ingredient was your failure during your speech to take a strong personal stand against Anti-Semitism, and this showed a lack of leadership. To see real leadership in action, look at the response of the US Air Force Academy leader after five black cadets had “Nigger Go Home” scrawled on their doors.

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/30/554698359/air-force-academy-leader-addresses-racist-writing

He told the perpetrators of these hate crimes to go home if they were not able to accept diversity. Not suspension or a dressing down – just get out. Simple and effective. Instead, the Labour conference once more had a messy fringe event in which Jews again felt unwelcome, where some people called for Jews to be expelled from the party, and another speaker declared that Holocaust denial was a legitimate area of debate. Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if at a Labour event people called for Muslims to be expelled from the party or that denial of slavery was deemed a suitable subject for debate?

Anti-Semitism in the Labour party is not like neo-Nazi right wing race hatred. It is political Anti-Semitism, which emanates from the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The righteous anger that many of your members feel about Israel  can easily morph into an anti-Jewish stance. This is a danger to society as a whole, since anti-semitism is like the canary in the coal mine, it is a precursor to a darker, larger and more pervasive set of hatreds. The only solution to anti-semitism is to fight it decisively and stop it in its tracks.

The second area where there is a toxic atmosphere is the relationship between the wings of your party. In 2016 a number of Labour women MPs wrote you complaining about the abuse levelled at women MPs. Their letter said: “Rape threats, death threats, smashed cars and bricks through windows are disgusting and totally unacceptable in any situation.This is acknowledged by all factions yet the simple words of condemnation offered in response are inadequate. We expect swift and tangible action against those who commit such acts. “

Harassment of Labour MPs, whether female or male, by fellow Labour members is dangerous and divisive. If you want a unified party, you must stop attacks like this.

The third area of concern is electioneering. At the recent general election, a Tory councillor running to be an MP suffered the following abuse from Labour supporters:
She was spat on many times and was abused verbally on the street, called a nazi, scum, and a whore. Her posters were defaced with similar epithets and her campaign headquarters vandalised. Lies about her voting record were published in Labour election literature and had to be withdrawn after breaking electoral law. Canvassers were threatened to the extent that police had to be called out. A canvasser’s car was spray fainted with vile abuse. Momentum members congregated outside the candidates’ home to intimidate her and her family. Voters were afraid to put posters in their windows for fear of retaliation.

These three kinds of harassment in your party are your Achilles Heel. They will cause you to go lame just at the time when you will need all your strength to continue the struggle. You have given people a new sense of hope, and now you must give them a feeling of protection, and by protection I mean security, an essential requirement of a successful state. You need to convince voters that you will fight terrorism, will reduce levels of crime, and create a society that does not live in fear. If your supporters engage in divisive acts of harassment which make people feel a mixture of fear and wariness, you will not succeed. The voters will not trust you; they will be scared.

In the short term this kind of intimidation may win seats, but its success will inevitably lead to an escalation of these kinds of tactics which will become self-defeating. Don’t allow shock troops to flourish. If you allow your party to become the new nasty party you will not be able to unite the country in the way you desire. There are people who will be attracted to this kind of nasty politics, but are they the people you want to attract?

Your aim is to support the many, not the few. But in order to get power, and to have the chance to really support the many, you have to convince them to support you. As long as you do not crack down on all forms of harassment, and show true strong leadership, you will not convince enough of the many to vote for you, even if they are attracted to your ideas.

Kind Regards

Mark Forstater

November 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

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