Unwelcome guests

Travel far enough, politically, either to the left or to the right and the extremes of each will meet and blur. Ultimately, neither wins but both are devastating, soul-destroying, in their temporary capture.

The far Right does not win. It englamours by feeding resentment; it says you are special – superior, even – but deliberately overlooked because there is not enough to go round and those in most need – for which read ‘undeserving delinquent’ – keep getting the most help and at your expense. It tells you, therefore, who to dislike, who to hold in contempt, who to fear. It prescribes utopian levels of liberty but scorns tolerance as a weakness and yet insists that you be fragile and claim victimhood whenever and wherever equality of rights are conferred, as though simple parity of human and civic worth were a liberal elitism; as though the scales of justice were only balanced when weighted in their/your particular favour. It levels like a dam.

It is selfish, narcissistic, arrogant, manipulative and shortsighted. It is dangerous and in the ascendant.

The far Left does not win. It englamours by feeding resentment, saying that you should be special but for a few people with power and wealth who think themselves superior and that the only reason there is not enough to go round is because they control it all because of their elitist/neoliberal/crony model. It tells you, therefore, who to dislike; who to hold in contempt; who to fear. It prescribes utopian levels of equal opportunity based on individual need and desire but treats you as a stereotype and insists on clinical homogeneity. It levels down.

It is naive, petulant, manipulative, bitter and shortsighted. It is dangerous and persistent.

Full-on or fag-packet, fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, whether it begins on the left or the right, plays out the same: finger-pointing, resentment, collective paranoia, authoritarian response, censorship, personal paranoia, obedience, resistance, enforcement, punishment, collective fear.

Any extreme, political, religious or social depends upon conformity and control. Motivation may be cynical or ideological, sold as an emergency or in faith but the goal is to gain sufficient, enthusiastic consent for a shared belief. Both start by seizing upon often but, not always, valid grievances and manipulating them in populist appeal to the basest instincts and shallowest fancies. They inculcate appeasement and zeal and rely on compliance and enforcement as the appeal and enthusiasm inevitably falters. They sell it to you as breaking out of your chains but there is nothing freeing about it, unless you hold the power and very much enjoy wielding it. An unwelcome guest it may be but, in this sense, it arrives, incrementally and by invitation. It can be evicted, but, however long it takes to cheat, creep up and settle in, the clear-up and recovery take much longer.

How far is such an administration prepared and willing to go to see the fruition of an entropic ideology? Authoritarianism is employed when those in power fear and do not trust the populations they were elected to serve and represent. Keeping a regimented, submissive population would require more than forced labour, punitive policies and vociferous policing. What if resistance becomes the matched force? ID cards, checkpoints, segregation, armed forces on the streets? How authoritarian would it be ready to be and to what lengths would it go to justify its actions? For how long would it even care to justify them? Perhaps there is none so desperately furious and cruel as a failed and panicking utopian.

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hornèd horseshit stew

Tribalistic winds are blowing
Salty, semiotic hues
Where idiotic feudalists
Are winnowing the truth

Their petty banners billowing
With whimsy platitudes
To the cannon fodder wallowing
In hornèd horseshit stew

But the vessel they are following
Is rotting with the mist and mites
And all the options hollow
As the crap is brought to light

And blow by populistic blow
The biggest tells the lowest show
Believing most what least they know
In multiples of what they owe

The nationalistic tally-hoeing
Shot its fox with proxy votes
And the Blighty battle bus is running
Out of road and rope

On every trope of treason, you can see them
Start imploding as they note
The knotted collars they are holding and
Well: let the vassalising villains choke

They don’t even know themselves

The authoritarian push for a singular, quantifiable identity with which to credit the Peoples of these islands is a paranoid backlash to a perception that we’ve been too accommodating of too many cultures, for too long and that this has polluted rather than inspired our national character. But how does that actually happen to a whole community – a whole nation – unless you have let it? How does that happen to a strong sense of self unless the sense was either already fragile or false? For sure, this is no small nor simple thing but it is no one’s fault, save ours.

The discourse around freedom of movement, particularly of people, did not and still does not make sense. Despite getting more oxygen than anything else, the EU referendum campaign managed to turn immigration into an incoherent manifesto for xenophobes. I could not – cannot fathom the magnitude of such vague loathing. Besides an overwhelming indignation at how it was my freedom of movement being threatened – and yours – I kept thinking: which is it, then: the numbers, the quality or the culture? But these were never properly broken down and challenged, perhaps because of fears that it would legitimise the racist platform; maybe because the populists were stronger and reliant on keeping things nebulous.

We were a land fit to bursting. A never-ending throng of undesirable unknowables kept getting in the way and selfishly absorbing our best stuff through osmosis. They were coming to take our houses that haven’t been built and they were more likely to be our doctor than in our queue to see one. What’s more they seemed possessed of a magic art, simultaneously able to be idle benefit scroungers but also to steal our jobs and undercut our wages, so it was probably their fault that unemployment has never been so low a gig. Just one more person would surely upend us into a sea, so the tens of millions of Turkish Muslims who have no passport but were definitely on their imminent way to ask Farage to borrow copious cups of sugar would absolutely sink us, even though not a one could simply wander in because we are not even in Schengen and anyway, we’re also an island, so there.

One minute we are told there are too many people and accusations fly about the poor having too many children born with their hands out and fear-mongering about religious devotees being the ones most likely to do so and too, raise children to challenge British values. The next we’re an ageing population so, please, have more babies but no more than two; we only pay for two. No, wait: we need more people, NOW, to do the jobs that, apparently, we won’t do and even more people to do the jobs we are told we can’t. Then they accuse our children of being fat and lazy and imply that people from outside of the EU have higher economically productive value but that Brexit will be brilliant because these islands teem, innately, with can- and derring-do. Yes, we’re all technical-arty-mathematical-entrepreneurial-scientific-innovative geniuses here… All that talent, brawn and skill yearning to be exploited, if only the dear leaders believed in their citizens enough to actually invest in them.

All this othering has been peddled to demographics made increasingly, desperately angry enough to be vulnerable to their own gullibility. Whether paranoia-steered, arrogant imperialist or unashamedly, outright xenophobe, fascism arrives by invitation and there have been a lot of RSVPs.

Yet you may hear a few Brexits emphatically declaring how they welcome fresh blood and its free movement. They don’t ‘see colour’ and ‘some of their best friends are Muslims’. These most patronising, hypocritical know-nothing Brexits will be the most protected from the consequences of their snake oil agency. They are all about the points-based ‘quality’ of people: the more, the merrier men. Ironic, really, because those who sell us that line about a metropolitan/liberal elite being the enemy of the people’s “Will” are intending to upset the it’s the numbers Brexits by liberally selecting immigrants for elite metropolitan types. Probably with dark skins, which will definitely upset the it’s the culture Brexits.

What audacious cynicism that warns us to be terrified of foreign tongues on our crappy trains, as Brexits flee to where the foreign trains are better and you get to turn the volume of your Estuary English up to eleven. We’re told to be confident and proud to buy British but there’s an ardent Brexit over there, fine-dining on tax incentives and stronger yields in any other field but Blighty’s.

And how shall the other people’s quality be defined? How shall we know them? What of the extraordinary qualities it takes to sneak yourself through half a dozen countries and across a couple of seas, mostly on your own nerve and initiative and start your life over, from scratch? And what of our quality? Are we red tractor stamped Are we good enough for our leaders and fellow citizens? Who, among us, will be found wanting and where, then, shall you and I be put?

And how do we square religion and culture with the post-Brexit geography of Commonwealth and Middle Eastern princes? Was it purely about the global equality of right to enter and not about the numbers, at all, or have we come to looking at every black or brown face with a need to know if it’s Muslim? I haven’t. Do we not trust in the secular nature of our system or not understand that spiritual orthodoxy is just politics with added conviction, having a left-right spectrum, where most sit as moderates around the centre? Or do we believe, just because the fascistic section of ALL religions would settle for the end of the world in the absence of global domination, that one’s own spirituality is therefore threatened and one’s god lessened? I hope not, for that is a fool who makes god small and does not respect even their own Self.

If our culture has been undermined or diluted and I am not claiming it has, then it is the fault of the collective weak character that let it happen. Harsh, perhaps but, if our country has been accommodating to the point of its detriment, then the people, their institutions and their governments should have had a better sense and firmness of social boundaries and the application of sound law and sensible policy. For example: why do we complain about segregation, misogyny and fundamentalism but persist in the encouragement of faith-based schools? How can we recognise the dangers of ‘fake news’ and discern that everyone needs access to a body of common knowledge yet allow certain schools to opt out of teaching about vital subjects, such as evolution and sex/relationships to the very generation that will be running ‘Global Britain’ and checking us for bedsores, one day?

Those most vehemently guarding their cultural identity are busily pursuing purity and mass compliance, baring their teeth and flexing paraphobic muscles. Thing is: they have no idea of who they are, never mind of the whole country and, really, who wants to comply with the most psychotic faction of the United Kingdom’s personality disorder and symptom of its nervous breakdown?

How it should be

Theresa May is putting the conservation of self-preservation of the Conservative Party before the better interests of the United Kingdom. Jeremy Corbyn is putting the Labour Party’s chances at winning power in an unscheduled snap General Election before the better interests of the United Kingdom. It’s obscene.

Government and her Majesty’s Official Opposition occupy some of the highest offices of State Power and responsibility. It is the duty of all Parliamentarians to conduct themselves with integrity, as they go about representing all of us, in our well-being at home and our reputation abroad.

Public service requires honour and sincerity. It is both a privilege to serve one’s country and her citizens and a vocational endeavour of noble cause. Officiates of governance – creators of Law and policy, by which we all are bound to live – should serve with a grace and humility that expresses the dignity and intelligence of their authority and respectfully affords the same to the country, her citizens and her guests.

At least, that is how it should be…