Forehindsight

All of human history slaps us in the face. Screams

look at me! Witness: I did not end. I am born again and again to grow and shed infinite skins. Potential does not die but can be bound by the drawing of a line.

You, who crossed a thousand Rubicons of shame and hope, for love of my gifts: built walls and prayed for unicorns; slew dragons and mended fences.

The sum of all human consciousness is here, now. Who can contain its conscience? Where shall it be comprehended?

Witness. Else, why are you?

Every age knows fools and visionaries. Filter your vicarious indulgences but all is revealed, eventually. Each, to their unspeakable acts and heroic deeds, be true. By your own lines, rise or fall.

New cans; old worms

Global or local, big or small picture, humans are politically riven with both justifiable and manufactured agendas. Whether as bolsters to old conflicts or newly perceived correlations, contemporary symptoms become the causes of tomorrow, especially when they are misunderstood and mishandled. There and here brews a god almighty convergence of violent complaint. New cans; old worms. History’s harvest.

Some people are still actively relishing the disturbing fragility of our times; they have waited so long, worked so hard for the potential of such days as these. They are the nihilists and the dispossessed, seeking retribution for the state of their lives, real, imagined and relative.

So they pour scorn and claim betrayal as a means to myriad, dissonant ends and invest in the cathartic revenge pictures and nebulous promises of restitution painted by charlatans and incompetents who take the righteous, justifiable indignation of the Commons and genetically modify it with conspiracies, ideological wishes and expedient scapegoats. Free-market patriotism.

Their default strategy is blanket blame by demographic whack-a-mole. They lump together all the characters, functions and effects of establishment, class and information in much the same paranoid, misinformed way as people who think that all drugs are all the same – just BAD, man. Their solution, the Brexit/Trump effect, is no better reasoned than cutting off your right arm because it might make the left one stronger. They turn creative destruction into throwing out, not just the proverbial baby, along with the scummy recycled bath water but also the actual bath.

They became those for whom no proof was either possible or necessary, even in the face of indisputable facts. Until, suddenly, it is. All that certainty was merely prologue to their next sense of betrayal, delivered, wholly predictably, by the capriciousness and ineptitude of their own brokers. And Hell on Earth hath no fury like a co-saboteur scorned.

The sane world watches, nervously, holding its breath.

Do do re-run

“Let’s not re-run the referendum campaign” – Those that say this might have a vaguely reasonable point if a rational and more honest campaign had been run. The reason that arguments still need to be had is because they were not actually had at the appropriate time; because politicians and journalists did not know or understand the substance requiring consideration nor their various consequences, any better than voters. And because some simply did not care. But the electorate needed to know all manner of what questions to ask and precious few people ever asked them.

If you think about it, every plebiscite re-runs arguments. It’s part of the messy, ongoing nature of Democracy. Politicians do it all the time – and social media, too, now. Hell, people are re-running arguments from decades, even centuries ago. Whether or not they are helpful or even relevant, still. This one is.

I don’t particularly want to want another referendum, either. Certainly not several (Scotland and Ireland.. Wales..?) You know I always thought the first EU ref was reckless and unnecessary and that the result was swung by a misdirected hissy fit. But, seriously, Brexit: what the heck did you expect? That Remain would cave and go quietly into catastrophic but preventable repercussions?

And it is foolish and weak to cry voter fatigue when, short of Parliament coming to its senses and riskily circumventing the People’s much-fêted Will, another public vote is the best available solution to settling something properly. Anyway, it serves ‘us’ right for not doing it properly, in the first place. We could have had a double majority. Cameron said no. We could have had a minimum differential. Cameron said no. We could have let 16/17ers vote on their futures. Cameron said no.

That cross in the box: it was just the start. Now comes the hard bit. A healthy democracy requires ongoing engagement and active participation. What a sorry lot we are if voters can’t take some responsibility for the “will of the people” and the downside of political choices and show keenness for a better understanding and a sharper attention to detail. After years of voters protesting that politicians don’t listen, it is surreal to imagine people preferring to make sure they don’t.

If all things now have a Brexity lens and if Brexit suddenly looks and sounds more complicated than sold, well, too bad. It always was going to be and if clarifying “the will of the people” sounds like too much effort, too threatening, too divisive or patience-testing, especially after having actively supplied the need, then, tough shit. Can’t willingly open cans of worms and then complain about the tangled fallout because “people are tired of elections”. Another tedious plebiscite is surely more sensible than simply rushing into a permanent mistake.

And it has to be a referendum rather than a general election, not just because the choice needs to be clear of party promises but because the latter option gives us no viable, electorally palatable alternative. No matter the demonstrable tunnel-vision and incompetence of the Tories, Labour offers a demonstrably incompetent ideologue. Both have bought into Brexit. Faced with yet another least-worst-option choice, the Conservatives would likely get another mandate. And then they will be Brexit on Viagra.

[PS: If any anti-Brexit moderates of the Conservative and Labour parties should conclude that their party is a democratic dud and decide to stand up for the best interests of a United Kingdom by giving their numbers to the Lib Dem benches – and voters a real choice, thereby – I reckon I could live with that.]

Attack of the Vapours

Human Nature loves a vacuum
See how quickly it is filled
With all noisome indiscretions
And as hastily distilled

People breathing in the moonshine
They’re producing at the glug
Willing workers in the factory
Where the atmosphere’s a drug

All tottery and swivel-eyed
Hysteria has found its place
Rebranded as the stuff of life
That fumes and ripens off its face

How long before this tolerance
For clumsy, loud and noxious gas
That permeates to radiate
Achieves its critical mass?

How long before resistance freaks
And turns to intervene
And closes down production
Of the poison in the steam?

Stencilling

Generations of Revolution:
Stencilled shadows;
The traced punctuation of fealty to forgetting
And wistful recovery.
Ranting for melodrama;
Tinkering at the edge of increment
And, always, the bitten hand that feeds.

Becalmed

Into vacuity pours every salivating nihilist
To vault bridges and dance the day invisible.

The disarmed pray
As hedonists look away
And the powerful wring their hands.

All prey, standing side-on;
Humanity, becalmed and haunted, waits
For spark and wind to wake the auditors.