I got those one-two-three-days occupation UK blues.
It is remarkably easy to explain why. They’re the same symptoms as last time, plus one or two important new ones.
The road lighting is terrible, none of the main signage is luminous, all of it is grubby, and some of it is nonexistent. Not a single roadmarking has been renewed since the last time I was in this area.
The syndrome is still, pretty much everywhere, “The answer’s a lie, now what’s the question?” Is this wood seasoned? Yes. Can you deliver this tomorrow? Yes. Is this made in China? No. Is the train on time? Yes. Reverse the answer, and you get the empirical reality.
Everywhere – the towns, the roads, the supermarkets, the trains – are ridiculously overcrowded. Everyone looks grumpy. The nonstop topic of conversation is the unaffordability of the vital: rail tickets, central heating, and wood that isn’t seasoned. There’s nowhere to park.
In every sector – transport, internet, domestic services, welfare, TV entertainment – the situation is seen as more for less: higher prices, crappy service….and of course, lies about speeds, reliability, real value and quality.
Yet it’s the newer stuff that’s most significant.
In a general sense, there is a lot of faux concern about on the Left, but little sign of it being applied to practical, everyday life for people who don’t GAF about ideological politics. For folks claiming to want an end to hate, they do seem to hate an awful lot of groups, Parties, social media users, beliefs, views, newspapers and public figures. But I don’t see much sign of real interest in practical action for the old, the social wealers, or united Opposition to the dilution of liberty and civil rights.
Equally, with a larger and larger proportion of the populous now struggling, if anything genuine compassion is less and less apparent: on the whole, it’s being replaced by a sort of soundbite bullying, with an unspoken ‘I’m alright Jack, so f**k you’ between the lines of “stop moaning/get a life/God you’re so bitter” claptrap being handed out by those from I wouldn’t have expected something better.
Unlike the more natural, communal sense of unity against an unpleasant potential invader (as in, for all the cynicism about it, 1940) there are now two growing trends obvious to the irregular visitor: divisive blame, and an absolute refusal to look anywhere but down or behind.
Oddly, I have to offer my opinion on the latter in order to explain the former.
It’s very parochial in the past that came before global commercial, energy, gender and religious terrorism; it’s a comfort zone where there appeared to be black and white; Donald Trump and the Conservative Party like it there, where there was a big manufacturing sector, a big Commonwealth, wogs, gyppos and lots of very very rich or fairly poor people without too many black riots. There was growth aplenty, and the global population was a third of what it is now.
So too it was for the Left: big factories, collective bargaining, labour muscle and civil rights concerns kept both the Democrats and the Labour Party in business. There was plenty to share out, and the Boss Class would keep all of it without collective action to persuade them otherwise.
It hasn’t been like that for a good 57 years at least, but the West’s two most influential self-styled democracies are in reality neo-dictatorial duopolies: the only way they can stay in power is to pretend, respectively, that growth can be eternal if the poor stay poor, and there are still big life-and-death issues that will help the poor out of their hellhole.
In shorthand, these competing ideologies are called neconservatism and socialism. In truth, neither side believes in even their own catechism, as their only motivations are greed and power. In longhand, the strategies involve financialisation of growth on the one hand, and the gonflation of eco-gender-sexual orientation-supernational amity on the other. Everyone with common sense and a functioning sub-arachnoid zone knows both are so irrelevant as to be surreal. In media soundbite terms, however, they’re sort of plausibly indistinguishable.
The parochialism of the past and media now-now detail thus ensure that lots of activists look back, and everyone else looks down. Hardly anyone looks at the places that really matter: elsewhere, and the future.
If they did so, the second feature – divisive blame – would be less widespread and far less potent. Looking ahead and elsewhere, for example, would establish for any open mind that:
* Focusing on financialised growth and allegedly vulnerable minorities will neither give the mass market of the past anywhere near enough PDI to consume, nor restore the fragile incomes of the aged. You can see the future, and it doesn’t work. You can see it applied it in Singapore and the US, and be double-dog certain it doesn’t work now, and it’ll never work: it is the equivalent of firing illegal drachmas at dehydrated kids in Mali. Whatever my depression about the current state of Britain, the UK remains miles ahead of any other civilised country in terms of racial and orientational tolerance and integration. But you have to go to Spain, Italy, Greece and Poland to get this: hardly any Brit activists do that.
* Wherever they’ve been tried – and myriad names are used as a tactic to hide the failure – the two most influential economic models have turned to disaster: Friedmanism in Chile, Socialism in Britain, Neoconservatism in the US, Thatcherism in France, Communism in the USSR, and neocon austerity monetarism in the ClubMed sector of the eurozone. We’re not just talking flawed here; we’re talking utter social, libertarian and economic mayhem for all but those in the Zil élite. Students and avid readers of economic and social history get this: for most post Thatcher Brits today, history is (as I like to say) a thing of the past. Try to run that as a gag among millenniels, by the way, and they just nod as if you’re a seer.
* Technology, medical cure advance, neuroscience and the physics of everything from Space travel and 3D existence to relative Time will change the future beyond even the most fertile generalist or scientific imagination. Very few people with so-called “political ideals” (another Class 1 oxymoron) study the sites, journals and university writings of those at the forefront of such mind-boggling change. The opportunities for wellbeing and threats to personal freedoms will not be even 1% understood by the end of this century. In that context, the orientational posturings of a tit like Peter Tatchell, the ambitions of a worm like Jeremy Hunt, the supranational drivel of Nick Clegg, and the glass-ceiling self-pity of Hillary Clinton really are so much worthless bollocks. But the future beyond next week is just another place the High-Priests of beleeeeef never go.
The United Kingdom needs to wake up to the fact that Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn, Nick Clegg, and David Cameron were all false lights but necessary catalysts in the process leading to a bottom-up reengineering of Britain’s social and cultural outlook.
All polemics are by definition systemic. All open-minded philosophy is by definition about the living planet, its species, and their raison d’etre. It looks – indeed, it has always looked – at the possibilities of the mind, and its relationship to the things it sees….be they real or illusional.
Philosophy and science are organic, inspirational processes that never stop asking questions about what is and might be. As such, they are the enemies of belief systems crippled by negative human experiences in the past.
It is up to us – and all humans who care about the bigger picture – to establish that only vibrant, new ideas about the natural potential of living things on this and other planets can keep real universal progress and fulfilment alive. We badly need visionary defenders of that future to foil the aims of those who would deny their past failure. They do that through the use of dishonest, soi-disant terms like progressive, union, global, correct, conservative and monetary.
Analyse that terminology, and it all suggests progressively more unnatural, one size fits all, conflict, bigotry, destructive of community, and electronic control through hyperinflation. These are all the things that systemic, inhuman neocons and socialist ideologues have totally in common.