Yes, the times are extraordinary,
Politically, that is.
And, the weather.
People can’t even seem to agree whether Thursday was the UK’s hottest day, or not. What is to discuss? It was or it was not.
This is perhaps a good starting point for the politics of now.
People – or, rather, politicians seem to be more divided than at any time in my life; I can’t talk about history per se, as I am no History Boy, although I imagine there cannot have been many occasions in the life-story of the UK where there is so much disagreement, dissatisfaction and misalignment of values.
The times are good; great for some.
Lying on the beach of a five star hotel in say, Mauritius, must be good (I am not), yet we know, that for every lucky soul with 1st class travel and all-inclusive holidays there will be 1000 people who cannot even dream of this.
Not sure why I chose Mauritius – it’s a place I’d like to visit someday.
Last night I was in discussion as to the Good Old Days when you could pop into the Ear-Hospital and pick-up free batteries; surely not long after free NHS specs and a tranche of dentists operating on NHS patients (varicose veins and grommets too!)
Yet, we know, whenever this was – when Morrissey was a lad; the inequality across society, or, the planet was not as concentrated as today – the very very rich weren’t quite as rich, indeed the planet was not as dollar-wealthy, it was likely that for every person sitting on a similar beach in the Indian Ocean there were probably 10,000 people who couldn’t dream of an equivalent experience, or likely more, 100,000 or a million I don’t know the data.
Suffice it to say, when times were better (aka ‘the past’) or ‘when I was a lad’ the inequality across our planet was more extreme. People are starving and dying of Malaria today, but this is absolutely nothing compared to the 1980’s.
Yet, things still seem bad
We struggle to rejoice in the democratisation of an easy life.
Like baby ants we scuttle around, working away or in retirement, too busy to look up and out.
By now, folk might be thinking, ‘Where is he heading with all of this?’ Is it a, ‘Just be grateful and keep going’ or similar?
Where I began was reflecting on us, that is you, me, everybody, everybody (as the song goes) and, the presence of Trump, Boris, Netanyahu and Putin at the top; I don’t know enough about Xi Jinping (although he looks kind from his photos) or some of the other leaders in the offing to comment;
I know that Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand seems to ‘have it’ and most don’t.
How did all of this happen?
Well, I suspect it has to do with our consumption. Not necessarily of drugs (opiates) although that seems to be an issue up in Scotland (who have quite a good leadership), but more the insidious, hypnotic kind of work and leisure.
We work away, most folk quite hard and have an allocated amount of time-off to recover. This is by and large easier than 100 years ago when a fortnight’s holiday was only for those in positions of authority (the man), but still, we labour.
And when not at work – here is the TV – the ravenous beast that devours time, focus and concentration.
People are not out on the streets demanding change; they are at home wading through Killing Eve, re-runs of The Office or Game of Thrones; our time filled with the mesmeric screen. Our kids fixated by computer games or tired shows.
And, I am just the same.
I am trying to make some difference in what I do – mostly however it is a pittance, it is scratching the surface of change. Superficial skeetering.
Part of this relates to my inability to forge connections with adequately activated people (thank you Jane for this observation) – the movement is not moving or, if it is, it isn’t really heading anywhere.
Thus, should we blame these perceived baddies for achieving positions of authority, of control and command, (who are just doing what they believe to be right), or should we heap our approbation on ourselves?
Don’t blame Boris… blame me for not doing enough during the election that brought-in his predecessor or the guy before him and so on. Where was I when society needed me?
Probably at the TV or the computer or watching my family watch TV as I am inclined to do.
Blame doesn’t get you anywhere.
I remember years ago, someone complaining about me for having too many answers, for being too positive and optimistic (and look what happened, Doncatraz!)
How right they were!
Yet, how do we mover from here?
Do we remain indoors, perhaps Tweeting as a form of action or looking to Netflix Recommended for our next move? Algorithms who know us better than we ever will, controlling, manipulating, influencing?
How do we take control?
I was going to say ‘take-back’ – I don’t believe ‘we’ have ever had it. That is the nature of the game, the locked-away rule book.
I will shortly return to The Spiral, for that if not providing answers, allows a certain light to be shone on the issues, that can perhaps guide our way.
Watch this space, O fellow travellers.
And stay hydrated!