Which party?

Brexit aside, which party is more malleable: a party led by a seemingly unassailable yesteryear ideologue or a party caught out and haunted by the overt flaws in its libertarian mindset? Which is more palatable: a party that seeks social justice by means of a chippy levelling down or a party that is so admonished and exposed that it may yet have social justice thrust upon it by sheer necessity and command?

One party merely seeks to scapegoat different demographics; the other is seeing its scapegoats bite back. One is on the upturn of the wheel of self-righteousness; the other is coming down. Which is likely to be the most adaptive: the one coming up on hubris and rose-tinted zeal or the one that is increasingly pulled down by its rich certainties and chastened by the consequences of its overreach?

Now add Brexit. Which party accepts that Brexit is, irrespective of current official positions, the priority that will determine the viability of the whole United Kingdom and the well-being of every individual on these isles? Which party is most likely to listen and learn and accommodate realities and new information? Which party’s approach might be more readily altered by sensible persuasion? Which party seems more sensitive to the scrutiny and pressure of the wider public and the Media? Which party looks as though it can be more easily called out and reined in by its own?

What a horrible state of affairs.

Light rite

Light-seeding:
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. ⚡️

Toodle-pip

Be strident
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
Quick!
Get it over with.

World,
Toodle-pip.

~*~

Misc.

Have the eclectic quirks
In people’s online heads
Replaced the curiosity shops
Wherein, among
The bits and bobs
Of whimsy and antiquity,
We browse, instead,
For random gems to spot?

I wish it didn’t matter

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.

Laborious

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…