[punctuate as you will]
[punctuate as you will]
Before planting, weeding
After planting, weeding.
Bright blessings of Imbolc, to you. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall never overcome It. ⚡️
With your Trident!
Just create a hellish if –
Whip it up a bit –
Let rip (you know you want to
And you’re MAD enough)
Push the button
Get it over with.
Have the eclectic quirks
In people’s online heads
Replaced the curiosity shops
The bits and bobs
Of whimsy and antiquity,
We browse, instead,
For random gems to spot?
I wish it didn’t matter
how identity is packed
and that the psyche frackers
stacked upon their borderline obsessions
would retract because the boundaries
they’re adding are just value-cladding traps.
How I wish it didn’t matter
who I am or where I was,
since I can give myself the slip
as quick as sticking to my spot
because, as often as I am,
as much, I’m also often not
and, well, I wouldn’t give a jot
except there seems to be a lot
who need to squash identity
into a fixed and clearly labelled box.
But I wish it didn’t matter
if I’m fabled, vintage, English rose
or fifty-seven beans of British stock.
And I wish I didn’t have to choose
which union do we lose or fuse:
the Kingdom or the European bloc.
For I do not want my space to shrink
nor see it brought to its own brink
and I do not like being made to think
about which bits of me I dare forego
– not just to satisfy those who,
no matter what the cost, do swear
that they are better placed to surely know.
No: the world is small in kind enough
without this categoric guff.
When I first joined Twitter I had a little refrain that went: Conservatives: they con us and serve themselves – Labour: making hard work of everything. I’ve seen many variations on the Tory one over the last three or four years. They are true, though, for both parties have become parodies of themselves, Labour being the most disappointing.
I really wanted to support Labour throughout the whole of the last Parliamentary term and, where possible, I did try but the Party made it so difficult that, in the end, I realised they were unlikely to provide the political answers and vision I was looking for. Though I exerted the majority of my contempt on the Cons because they were the ones in charge, I bashed Labour quite often on this site but, at the same time, I still hoped they would win this General Election because I knew that in a FPTP system, we needed them to, just to be rid of the Tories. Getting rid of the Tories became paramount. It was an odd circumstance, therefore, to ridicule and encourage, to bemoan and support Labour but I knew I couldn’t pretend they’d come good just because I wished they would. There can be a fine line between positive thinking and delusion.
Wishing and needing Labour to be the main governing party was, in the end, then, mostly to provide a brake; a breathing space. I remember writing that, when they won, we wouldn’t be able to relax for long; that we would have to push for the changes we wanted in all matters, from Foreign Policy to Social Justice; from democratic reform to environmental responsibility. I think all but the loyally blind knew this, too. Labour, in its present form, with its prevailing mindset, could only be temporary caretakers – willing facilitators at best – while we created something real and reflective of those who knew we could well do with turning ‘left’.
Like the neo-liberal groupthink of economics that thinks super-strength homeopathic treatment is appropriate when, really, we are in amputation territory, Labour seems intent on reaffirming the very characteristics that so many of its would-be, wanna-be voters have clearly and repeatedly expressed as loathing with a vengeance.
After the Scottish Independence Referendum, when Jim Murphy was installed as the Scottish Labour leader, I laughed and sighed and knew that the Party had learned absolutely nothing from the enduring impact of Thatcher and the negative effects of Blair. Since Ed Miliband resigned, the inevitable wallowing has begun and the Party is doing it again. They keep talking about how they must ‘learn the lessons’ and mustn’t go backwards but they can’t seem to move much beyond 1997. They are as misguided and nostalgic; as uselessly sentimental, in their own way, as Ukip and the Conservatives.
The Party still thinks and speaks of people in terms of top, middle or bottom boxes and of aspiration by categories of economic class. It still thinks of aspiration as something only ‘hard-working families’ possess and still imagines that our individual hopes and dreams are predominantly economically motivated and, when it says, like the Cons, that it is a ‘One Nation’ party, I feel it probably means conformist; homogenised, rather than nuanced and inclusive.
Too many in the Party still think and speak of ‘wealth creation’ and enterprise as being purely Business and Market led and that wealth and ambition are always about status and financial enrichment. They present as though only the poor old squeezed middle has aspiration and as though to lack it, in a recognisable form, is a failing. They think they didn’t win because they failed to talk about it enough… They think too much like the Conservatives and that is the last thing we need: more imitation. It is neither necessary to copy nor does it flatter the people of the country/countries – whichever the heck we are, now.
Aspiration is like growth, devolution, choice, Big Society and British Values – just another nebulous concept noun for nodding dogs that greases the wheels of policy but translates down into a patronising sop and an overly shepherded reality. Besides, not only do many people not wish to live by such intangible, politically arbitrary terms but aspiration is a disingenuous, deeply patronising hopium in a system that is knowingly manufactured as one big Ponzi scheme.
Sadly, the more some Labour folk try to explain what they think ‘went wrong’ and what it needs to become, the harder it is for me to even imagine being able to identify with the Party. I watched Liz Kendall on Sunday with Andrew Neil and I liked her. She seemed authentic and resonant, enough that I even thought I might want to give her more time of day. Afterwards, I came across a couple of articles that proclaimed her Blairite credentials which I had not recognised at all from her interview. I sighed. Again. She was going to be too far left of Blair’s, Mandelson’s or elder Miliband’s ‘centre’. Oh, they’ll choose Chuka Umunna, I mused. They’ll never let her lead. And I wondered if I would have liked her sufficiently to want her to and if I’d even get the chance to genuinely find out. How cynical…
Oh, Labour! No, you do not speak for me.
Please understand: I want you to.
I listen and I read and wonder
Who on Earth you think you’re serving.
What am I to think
But that you don’t consider me deserving.
What I mostly see is you preserving ideologies
For which I have contempt
And so it worries me that you might rather form
A carbon-copied government of Hobson’s choice
And so empower yours than be the People’s voice
And raise the fundamental arguments
Against this crazy, neoliberal cruelty.
Your fealty to narcissistic economics is a deathly blow:
That you’d forgo my dignity
To please the grubby tribes with promises
That promise no improvement
To the lives of the majority of citizens you’d claim to represent.
The denizens to which you pander are a poison,
Yet you hold aloft the near-same gilded chalice,
Just as if your lesser malice were sufficient sop
To damp this futile piety and quell the swelling of anxiety,
For all the ‘difficult decisions’ of this inept unelect you cowardly support
Are frankly risible.
How can you keep invisible
The counter to this crude miss-framing
But that you conceive yourselves inadequate to challenge it
Or that you actually believe this farce retains some merit
And embrace the blame you’ll share
When you inherit all you failed to rail against…
Oh, Labour! What’s the point of you if all you’ve got to offer
Is that Labour will be tougher?
Oh, I mourn the loss of intellect;
The caving in to pseudo Reason;
Automatic disrespect for half of your electorate.
I just cannot accept this inability
To paint the bigger picture
Nor the failure to connect the dots that got us here,
That you would use to keep us captive.
Who’s side are you on that you would actively perpetuate
The false and patronising songs
Of Blair’s and Thatcher’s mighty wrongs:
You know that competition is no guarantee of choice
And, that Public Service, privatised,
Removes the People’s voice.
You say the welfare of the country needs a safety net
But then neglect that if it cannot be upheld,
Then your responsibilities have fallen short of being met.
To blame the poor for being poor
When those ‘above’ decide the policies of economic climate
Is malfeasance multiplied unto a treason
And, that you would fall for such rhetorical appeasement
As to advocate a cap, implies your idiocy flows on tap
And, though you utter here and there the odd sage observation
And some worthy remonstration,
They are merely optimistic glimpses pinned on good intention
That are thrown to me as scraps and leave me feeling,
I still greatly fear,
You’d trap the nation in the same manipulative crap.