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These Songs of Freedom

By Tim Hardy

No wonder people have had enough of the main parties.

Labour’s response to the cuts so far has been lacklustre at best. One would be forgiven for thinking they’re secretly in support and just hoping the Tories do the dirty work for them. In today’s Independent, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown shows a commendable awareness of the dangers to the status quo around the world, but his response combines an old man’s ignorance of the internet with fear mongering and ends with a call to force the unemployed into work, a policy that even the Conservatives would be wary of promoting.

No young person anywhere should go more than three months without the offer (and duty) of taking a job.

Without a commitment to better working conditions and stronger rights for workers in the UK, this is just an invitation to employers to exploit the workforce even more and will lead to more young people being forced into degrading, poorly paid and soul-destroying jobs.

Mr Brown always loved to bang the terror drum to scare people into thinking that his authoritarian responses were the only way. He slyly characterises internet communications as “the messages articulated by fanatics” ignoring the fact that the increased communication and availability of information enabled by the internet challenges the ignorance in which extremism breeds. Reform can be peaceful and is desperately needed – both in authoritarian regimes and here.

The young have been hit particularly hard but this is not a generational issue. Inequality affects us all. One has to worry that Gordon Brown’s real concern is that this inequality will lead to the privileged few, with whom Labour have become as cosy as the Conservatives, having to give up on a few of their treats.

The only fanatics I can see right now are those in the cabinet being aided by their apologists on the opposition benches.

I think this beautiful and witty song by Adynkrah tells us more about the spirit of dissent and disillusionment expressed and shared online by the young and millions of others than any number of words from a former Prime Minister in a newspaper.

This oligarchy has to end. Politicians need to remember that they work for us. The internet is a place where our songs of freedom can flourish. Our challenge now is to carry that message into the real world.

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