Some days, I think I’m ill. I feel ill. Not the ill of my pained and exhausted body: the source of depletion and variability in my personal resources. That’s bad enough but I can cope. Mostly. For now. I’m afraid it’s all become very much dependent upon government policies and familial support.

No, I’m coming down with something else, I know it. It’s dis-ease. I’m battling with symptoms such as defeatism, depression and doubt. Oh, and bitter sarcasm. It functions like one of those irritating pop-up messages or a heavy, wet cloak; a would-be usurper of thought and emotion. That’s fear. Fear that the world’s and our domestic problems are too big and too numerous to surmount; that I’m too small to make a difference; that nothing will change because leadership and its ideas don’t; fear that the solutions – to nigh-on everything – are driving us towards ever more complex systems. Natural entropy, mutated. Things have gotten so ridiculous, so utterly convoluted; ‘the devil’ must be having a field day.

We’ve tried marching and petitions; we’ve emailed our MPs and complained to mainstream media about how they have ill-served us and little, if anything changes.

The whole world is at war – for it is a war – with the avarice of a few inordinately powerful bastards and it feels like we are just creating skirmishes. From ‘Arab Spring’ to Spain, Turkey, Brazil, I watch their passionate running battles and their courage and ingenuity with awe and a little envy – or maybe it’s wistfulness, because here in Britain, we just sit around moaning about what’s wrong, march a bit and put the kettle on. We practise the equivalent of petty skirmish. So much for ‘bulldog spirit’ – we’ve become more like abused Labradors.

Anger is justified in our current climate. It’s highly appropriate. Anger, like fear and pain, tells you something is wrong and, channelled well, it’s Anger’s best gift. But the anger, so consistently expressed until a few short days ago, is in danger of becoming the acceptance of victimhood. Like me, I’m sure you’ve noticed the creeping despondency on twitter lately and within the pages of our favoured bloggers and journalists. We know what’s wrong; we’ve identified that much. We even have some sound solutions between us all. And yet…

I don’t know about you, dear Reader, but I’m finding the idea of years filled with endless skirmish completely and utterly soul-destroying. I’d rather go out fighting – hard. But, like many of you, this old carcass would find the mischief of which my healthy self was capable, almost physically impossible. My own personal acts of dissent and my amateur efforts at blogging are not even a drop in the ocean and my circumstances inhibit my other impulses. Not to mention the fear of consequence that comes with lone protest – real or imagined. No wonder I feel impotent and no wonder I’m reading that same sentiment wherever I look.

In my dreams, I want to storm Parliament, take our MPs literally by the scruffs of their fattened necks and hurl them out into the street. I want dramatic change. For the better, obviously. But Nature, abhorring that vacuum cannot guarantee it.

Nevertheless, I want us all to demand a halt to current proceedings. I want one of those transitional government thingies to keep the country ticking over – doing nothing new – while we all decide what kind of a people we want to be and how that should best be reflected and enacted. Don’t tell me that’s naive or impossible. It’s essential if we want to make real, meaningful, sustainable and ethical change. Neither does it need to take very long.

None of our politicians from the main parties will achieve our notion of a better world and we all know the reasons for that. But, dear Reader… If I did have a magic wand; if I was as big as enough of us; if I was organising a protest…? It would not take the form of a march, a carnival or a rampage.

I would go to Parliament or Downing Street. Or other pertinent places of Government. Please don’t bother to write and tell me all the reasons why I’m not allowed – I don’t care. In fact, the fact that I might need to request permission tells me all I need to know. I wouldn’t be seeking permission; I’d be exercising my right.

I would go to Parliament. I would take candles and a banner saying “Government, stand down. Now” and I would stay there in silent vigil until it did.

[Now, just to reassure you: this post reflects a temporary and fluctuating state that I have observed in myself and others. Ultimately I am optimistic for the Human Race. I don’t know if I’ll live to see it and I’m not all that confident that my children will. But Humanity will. As to my preferred form of protest? Silence is golden ;-)]

One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste,

One Moment of the Well of Life to taste –

The Stars are setting and the Caravan

Starts for the Dawn of Nothing – Oh, make haste!”

Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131)


14 thoughts on “Malaise

  1. “I don’t know about you, dear Reader, but I’m finding the idea of years filled with endless skirmish completely and utterly soul-destroying.”

    But that’s how it has always been, if you are talking about state policies. Just think of it this way, maybe if it wasn’t them, it could have been someone else.

    Someone has to be on the top. Might as well let “them” be there. Imagine if the ww2 era hadn’t ended and those were the guys on top.

    At Least the people on top are fulfilling 80 percent or even 60 percent, if not all of their responsibilities. And to me it looks like they are doing that better than most of the other countries in the world. (not using it as an excuse to justify mismanagement.)


    • Hmm… Thank you. I think that’s a rather confused response considering you ‘liked’ the post! The kind that goes some way towards explaining how we got here and how we might be kept so…


      • Ha ha ha! Well said Juli…people get confused sometimes, you seem confused, why I liked your post and criticised your comments on the political issues in your country.

        That’s fine. Had people never been confused, there wouldn’t have been so many conflicts taking place all over the world, and in our minds.

        We look for conflict resolution outside, when the conflicts reside right within ourselves.

        People are wrong sometimes, and the opinions we hold may not be correct, they are just our opinions after all.

        Have you ever looked at your hand? You have got five fingers there, and none of them are equal. But yet your hand works beautifully, doesn’t it?

        Opinions can differ, and you don’t have to feel bad about it.


      • Bless you, Ed! I don’t feel bad or confused about my human condition. My posts are only ever fragments of my thoughts, rarely a whole view and I don’t always write for my benefit. Sometimes I just write a reflection of what I’m seeing and throw in my personal pronoun for good artistic measure! 😉


    • I would sooner have someone at the top who was in the job for the people not for the fringe benefits. I would sooner have someone at the top who was not in the pockets of corporations and bases decisions on their interest and not the majority of society. I would sooner have someone at the top who spoke truth and showed compassion.


  2. I feel the malaise too… but it also reminds me of John Dyer’s letter which I put on Think Left in another period of despondancy:

    Dearly discouraged:

    Press on.

    In a fight, it is the cumulative effect of body blows that most often brings the knock out.

    Having been both fixer and the fixed for many – too many – years, let me assure you it can be done.

    You will not see the knockout. It will take place behind closed doors over 1-3 brief exchanges of punctuated and pointed words and body language. It will happen something like this:

    1) The Prime Minister will turn to the embattled Culture Secretary in Cabinet as if the Secretary is the only person in the room and say, “can’t you get those bl***d* old @&£^ on Twitter out of my hair?” The Secretary will resign.

    2) The Prime Minister will turn to the Chancellor and Business Secretary in Cabinet as if they are the only persons in the room and say, “It’s hurting, but it isn’t working.” We will have a Plan B.

    3) The Prime Minister will turn to his strategic Housing Secretary in Cabinet as if this operative is the only person in the room, and say, “I want the spilt milk off my plate. Fix it. Now.” A new team will conduct a new strategy more responsive to the people than the current.

    The government will redirect. It will declare victory as it move sideways in a U. But it will be your effort, your values that will have won. However much they want you to think they don’t care what you think, they do. I’ve been there. Admittedly not against the Eton Wall Game. But regardless of game, what the public thinks does matter to our political leaders.

    However little acknowledgement they give your contribution, you will have contributed. You will have won … the battle.

    But a caution against celebrating when that time comes. it won’t be over even with a complete change to suit your values. It won’t be over if they fall and a new Party comes to power.

    It is never over. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    So take a deep breath. Take a shower. Do whatever you do to regroup.

    And never say, “I quit.”


    • Lovely response, Sue! I hope the most despondent of my readers will take heart and encouragement from your counsel and the signpost to the wonderful @JohnCharlesDyer.
      No, it’s never actually “over”. That would take some of the meaning out of life, wouldn’t it? The yearning in my post speaks more to the basics of running the country and mundane necessities of human existence about which we all moan should be kind of sorted by now. It’s also a reflection of the mood I am witnessing around me. Writing about it is like having that shower!
      I don’t for a moment think that we get to some magical and imaginary goal and then stop working, improving, watching. After all, as Richard Bach says:

      “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t” 😉


  3. Am I the only one that thinks Iraq took the fight out of the Great British Public? We’ve been protesting and marching for centuries, the Peasants Revolt was way back on the 1300s, but I think Blair going to Iraq despite the MASSIVE protests has convinced every day folks that fighting back is pointless, the government will do whatever the hell it wants anyway.

    Sorry for being so negative, but I’m most certainly one of those battling with defeatism, depression and doubt 😦


    • Oh, Julia! I think you have hit a bloody big nail on its head with your reply! Thank you!
      Take heart – at least we’re fighting for the ‘right side’ – so to speak…


  4. Pingback: Malaise | SteveB's Politics & Economy Scoop...

  5. Pingback: Malaise | Politics, poetry and musings |

  6. Pingback: Malaise, Lost Democracy and the Disease of Defeatism, Depression and Doubt | Think Left

  7. I think John & Sue have said it all.Politics is very like life itself,Full of set-backs plus a few steps forward that make everything worthwhile. If you score one goal during the match thats a bonus. Playing the game is like sucking a lemon. But the hot shower afterwards makes it all worthwhile.
    Remember there are thousands of people with you & we will win in the end.


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