You can’t get the staff

If Call-me-Dave and his cronies shut up for long enough they’d hear the raucous laughter reverberating around the isles. Followed by outrage and sighs of deep, deep despair.

‘They’ just don’t get it, do they?

Or do they? Either way: I’m not sure which reality is the scariest.

It’s not just the economy, dire as it is; inept as politicians are. It’s not just social policy, backward and insidious as it is. It’s not just moralising, obsessive and faulty as it is. It’s neo-theocracy dressed up as concern; power and control hiding under benevolence.

That old and now rarely expressed phrase comes to mind: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The spying on and curbing of civil liberties is in direct proportion to a government’s lack of trust in its electorate. This government, like the one before, would seem to both fear and despise us. When Authority has to micro-manage its environment and scrutinise the lives of its citizens like this, it has already demonstrated a loss of faith in the collective.

Protesters in other countries are freedom fighters and seekers of democracy while here, in the Dis-United Kingdom of not-so Great Britain, the dissenting voices are accused of talking and bringing the country down; of being rioters, anarchists, even. You wait – we’ll be told we’re unpatriotic next. Then they’ll really be able to define us as terrorists.

“If you’ve done nothing wrong…” What complete and utter bollocky balderdash! You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Besides, judging by the divisive manner in which this government publicly categorises and scapegoats its own citizens, I really wouldn’t put any faith in its ability to discern the ‘good’ from the ‘enemy’, would you? Especially when you think of how most of our ‘enemies’ have been deliberately induced or even conjured from thin air in the service of imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, feudalism ism ism ism…

It’s a bit disingenuous to call all this invading, dividing and conquering of selected fashionable spots around the world ‘defending’ the UK. Nope. Rather it’s the usual suspects stirring shit, starting wars, invading governed and ‘ungoverned spaces’, enabling profiteering: having the audacity to call it ‘help’.

Do we vote and pay taxes for government to decide what is and isn’t ‘wrong’ behaviour? Do we pay the wages of those elected ‘representatives’ for it to make those definitions? Surely not?!

Whatever ‘they’ do get, they don’t get this:

We, The People – WE are the ‘Big House’; THEY are the staff.

They are just the staff…

Circling the Drain

Pride, true or false – the fuel that’s left
When so much of the rest is subsidised:
On one side of the State’s Grand Bargain lies

The profiteer –

A product of discretionary patronage,
Forsaking those, who, on the other,
Falling short of leverage,
Are kept in chains to serve
And so preserve ill-gotten gains.
We’re merely circling the drain.

We are the rent to nothing owed
And nothing owned, though all is spent:
The means to thrive have all been rent
Or sent as gifts to terraforming titans.
And interlocking dynasties perpetuate

The misery

While middlemen aspire to go higher
On the back of shame.
And round we go in circles down the drain.

Compacted by a contract of constraint,
We rise each day to greet the swill of torment.
Bent like doffing caps in gratitude, we thus
Augment the lives of those who live by platitudes.

And was there ever shown so much restraint;
Such acquiescence to indignity and needless pain
Bestowed?

Or so much retribution owed in vain,
To those whose fault it is that we are circling the drain?

Some Fundamentals

I don’t have a great deal of patience with orthodox religion but I support the right of those who do to practise their devotion in so far as it does not oppress or suppress others. Neither am I an atheist – though I must admit to sounding like one if you miss the nuance. To me, religion seems to have little to do with God and everything to do with politics.

Every time there’s a debate about anything professing to relate to ‘God’ or ‘Faith’ it’s always couched in the context of orthodox religion or atheism versus orthodoxy. (The thing that both frustrates and makes me smile is that, besides neither having much to do with sacredness or divinity, both also hold positions of non-evidence-based certainty.) To me, framing the existence or non-existence of ‘Gods’ in such narrow terms, as described and prescribed by patriarchy and/or orthodoxy, is stale and unimaginative – and distinctly unhelpful.

Nevertheless, that is the rubric within which most of the world keeps itself confined – be it through education, governance or ‘holy’ wars.

Each religion is mostly interchangeable with another: they alter their costumes a bit and change dates and the names of people and stuff but the basic tenets; the widest meaning in the message is generally the same.

And all religions have been, are and continue to be vehicles of both peaceful and violent thought and deed. At their best, they try offer beautiful interpretations of Life’s mysteries through archetypes, parables and metaphors as lessons and frameworks by which to live and, at their worst, they offer fear, contradiction and ambiguity and sow confusion. Each religion has its moderate majorities, its peaceful literalists and its violent fundamentalists.

But all religious tomes are like poetry and music – subjectively and conveniently open to literal, artistic, cultural and political interpretation – one’s sensitivity may be stirred from truth and beauty to offence and ridicule. Yes, the Qur’an has verses which can be interpreted as permitting or even promoting violent retribution and punishment. So does the Old Testament. No Abrahamic Faith is immune – they all have colourful histories – and, looking further east, neither are the Hindus, nor the Buddhists.

Most ‘religious’ people are moderate people who have no drive to convert or ‘correct’ the behaviour of others. Many followers of the orthodox faiths pick and choose their adherences with varying degrees of guilt or comfort, be it using contraception, eating pig, imbibing intoxicants, marrying out of one’s faith, neglecting Confession – yada, yada. One only has to witness the majority approval for secular governance within the ‘first’ world and the majority who aspire to it in other regions of the globe to appreciate this: equal, educated, free and well-informed people; people who can rely on consistent and fair laws and a sufficient measure of security, don’t want or need to be told how to live by either the representatives of elected authority or by those who claim to represent a Higher One.

Major swathes of the world’s populations are being sold short while religious doctrine replaces basic/general education and information is exchanged for censorship. If religious dogma is your main or only source of common knowledge and experience, then it is little wonder that superstition, prejudice and taboos prevail and fester. And to force it on children is in the least, a grey kind of magic. Religion within mainstream education should be facilitated through philosophy, not through doctrine. Faith schools? No, thank you. Save it for the Temple.

Law, governance and culture have been traditionally shaped and dictated by Patriarchy and it is as loathe to give up its self-righteous control freakery as, say, Neoliberal governments and corporations. It is curious how those who claim to be so devout often seem more concerned with trying to control the lives and souls of others than their own. That there is no such thing as vicarious atonement seems to have escaped their fascist fonts of wisdom.

Of course, any ‘moral’ militant can find things to hate in the modern, secularising world; things over which to take personal offence as an excuse to let out their outrage and paranoia: the aspiration for equality; for living according to one’s individual desires and needs; for being free to draw personal boundaries, exercise preferences. And, indeed, so they do. But History is replete with religious and political violence and atrocious foreign policies, isn’t it…? Terrorism perpetrated by citizen groups, ‘democratic’ governments and state sovereigns alike. What conceit, though, to assume to speak for God! To actually claim power and take offence on behalf of one’s god! As though any god, worth its salt, needs defending! But then, Humans have always had an amazing, indefatigable ability to reduce a god to the level of their own petty imaginations, haven’t they…

Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims: all brilliantly misrepresenting their faiths; all desirous of imposing their ideology on others; all so certain. It is politics, mediaeval style. No wonder the atheists are bemused and pissed off.

The problem here isn’t ‘God’, though. The problem is cultish and political bigotry, narcissism and fear. It is the arrogant and ultimately fruitless notion that you are the manager of another’s soul and free will. It is the pitiful demonstration of people who look upon the world with narrowed eyes, lacking appreciation for the greater beauty, diversity and mystery of the human animal; who cannot recognise or stomach the paradoxes of life: that simple things are often made complex by their explanation and that things which seem complex are often very simple.

What the bigots fail to realise is that while they are perfectly entitled to their rigidly narrow and conjured opinions – so is everyone – those opinions don’t give them the right to legislate for everyone or terrorise and kill, based on them. This is why a secular society is the best way to protect and govern with equal and fair effect: the best way for the majority, the minority and all the individuals therein to know and feel that they belong and will be treated equally under the Law. Good Secularist or Pluralist governance shouldn’t mean that you have to bury your faith. It should recognise that not everyone has a faith and that no one faith is superior to another.

Poll shmoll

Week after week political polling shows that the general populace really don’t understand the issues under deliberation, or the vast consequences that may come out of the responses. This is especially the case when it comes to ‘Welfare’ and matters European. This isn’t the entire fault of the public of course. Our confusion is not merely down to a lack of insight: even if so inclined, people haven’t got all day to find and check the facts and give them critical thought. Besides, we know how this is compounded by the questions that are asked and exacerbated by the simplistic choices of the available answers. And, of course, such distortion of the statistics provides great capital in the service of agenda.

Sky’s poll was conducted by Survation, a “polling and research consultancy with British origins… chiefly known in the UK for its monthly voter intention polls on behalf of The Mail on Sunday.'” I know I’m cynical but when Sky News commissions a poll on our EU membership, I automatically assume it’s to prove a point and that its results will be used as propaganda to vindicate policy. Goebbels would applaud….

I mean, months down the road and are we collectively any more knowledgeable about Europe‘s various ‘departments’; its present structures and their connectedness, purposes and procedures..? Of course we’re “divided” over it! We are still mostly hearing what some people say could or might happen. We don’t need agenda-serving ifs and buts, nor do we need any more distortion and scaremongering. We need the facts of what the EU provides and takes to better measure the value in what is subsumed and we need to understand our legal position and subsequent standing in global institutions for both remaining in and leaving.

Because emotion and crony bias are so insidiously woven into our political and media sources, we have surely learned by now that we have to dig underneath their blah and blether to call them out. The only way the facts are going to surface with regards to our EU position is through time and insistence. Now. Not half way through or, as has become customary, after the decision has been made. It’s time we demanded, of our domestic powers at least, that they stop positioning us.