Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Let he who is without sin...
Forgive me, Blogger, for I have sinned. It is five days since my last blogfession. I don’t even offer any excuse, although plenty spring to mind. In fact, excuses seem to be very much the thing right now. Excuses for inaction, excuses for past actions, excuses for possible future actions; the hardest bit of politics seems to me to be getting your excuses in early, ideally before any blame has been apportioned. Meanwhile the show must go on. The show today being, of course, the subdued state opening of Parliament.
It’s like the worst kind of scripted reality show; mindless fodder for the lumpen masses, where wooden characters act out pre-ordained plots as onlookers agitate from the side-lines. Did I say agitate? Of course I meant – John McDonnell meant – peacefully demonstrate their kinder, gentler opposition; not in any way engage in a Day of Rage to bring down the government; oh no, that would be inflammatory, nobody meant that, did they, John? Hedging his bets McDonnell first called for insurrection then yesterday pretended he really meant ‘a bit of a march’ with a few mild placards.
And over on the other channel everybody is watching the Grenfell Game, wondering who is going to scoop the big prize. The various cheerleaders are whipping up the audience into a frenzy in an effort to ensure that as many as possible leave the game with more than they owned when they arrived. Compensation has gone from being the provision of relief from loss to a system of reward for giving the best depiction of entitlement. Playing the helpless victim of greater powers has become a new career for some and facilitating that victimhood is a full-time occupation for others.
To assist in upping the entertainment value, a bevy of modern-age virtues are brought to the front line: selective outrage, moral equivalence, the race card, the muslim card... along with a whole entourage of faux facts, from mangled statistics to downright lies. He said, she said, they did, we didn’t; the war of words is rapidly becoming a well-rehearsed soap opera in which everybody knows the format. Shit happens, everybody mucks in, politicians on all sides try to spin it as a triumph for themselves and a ‘sad indictment’ of the supposed motives of all the other competing sides. We’re all sinners now; casting the first stone is nothing to do with conscience, it’s merely a matter of timing.
Meanwhile, the world still turns. Those who pay for everything will still pay for everything. Those who have only ever taken will continue to take. And the poor sods in the middle scrabble for the safety and promise of salvation of the few scraps of flotsam from the wreckage. The ideologues’ multicultural, rainbow-nation dream has been a disaster and the disparate forces of malcontent, jostling to put their special interest centre stage at the expense of others threatens to tear it still further asunder. In pursuit of a world in which everybody wins, against nature itself, we are instead in a place where, with few exceptions, everybody loses.
Ask not what your country can do for you...
Whatever happens today, peaceful or otherwise, it has to be hoped that common sense and common decency prevail and the process of governing the country is allowed to begin again. Instead of demanding from society yet another slice of a finite pie of money, police, emergency services, ‘justice’ and so on, look to the other side of the Grenfell disaster. Follow the example of those who freely gave of their time and resources to help each other out. Margaret Thatcher said there was no such thing as society – and she was right. People conveniently forget that she went on to say: “There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." Why, she was practically Jeremy Corbyn!