But what is the UK to be, now?

The identity of the UK is in a crisis of much longer-standing than the disgusting populism that currently discerns it by such criteria as your socio-economic influence, what colour your skin is, whether you lean Left or Right, what religion you might practise or where your parents were born. Politically, that is as much about how certain people so badly need to mark or choose our personal identities for us as it is about how we might or might not identify ourselves – because finger-pointing and division serve their social comfort and agenda.

Also apparent, particularly since the first Scottish independence referendum, is the severity of the identity crisis of the UK, itself, which, post the Brexit result, is now a direct, overt and rather urgent matter. We should all care, whether petty tribalist or sincere patriot; scapegoated or scapegoater.

Unionists, Nationalists, Independents and Federalists; centralisation, devolution, globalism and localism; Brexit-Remain; Left-centrist-Right: somewheres and anywheres: we’re all being stitched up, in whichever part of the UK we live, howsoever we identify or have been categorised.

Conflict within and between our individual and collective identities are not recent phenomena. Anyone who reads history and/or literature, has lived long enough or just pays general attention to human nature knows there has always been friction and tension between the micro and macro. At this point in our timeline, though, when malice, mischievous tinkering and authoritarianism are determining the future at a confluence of circumstances, it behoves us to think more deeply, sensibly and bravely.

What and who and how is the UK to be, now?

One big country with one central government (beneficial democratic reforms notwithstanding)? Four separate countries joined in equal union? I said equal. Four co-dependent states under a mishmash of overlapping powers and inconsistent arbitration, secretly content in their mutual aggravation?

Or are we four ideologically disparate nations, who merely happen to share a lot of history, mostly by quirk of geographical proximity but who should just call time and separate? Or is it too easy and too terrible to think that? I hope so.

Whichever we are, we need to decide. And fast. If we can’t even negotiate and co-operate with each other – with ourselves – with mutual respect and for mutual benefit, then what of our prognosis, with the rest of the world?

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.

base-mood

What if arithmetic were underpinned by the base-mood system:
if its virtues were no more than the sum of
popular feelings, mischievous algorithms and smoke-filled echo chambers?

Funny how

Funny how the will of just over half of the electorate, on one specific day, translates as an overwhelming majority, signifying the fixed and absolute will of the people. Funny how Parliament cares so much about respecting the will of the people.

Funny how the will of the people for a well-resourced, easy-access NHS, free at the point of use, is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for affordable (free at the point of use), compassionate, dignified and accessible social care is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a decent, guaranteed state pension and a dignified old age for all is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people to have justifiable rights to end their lives and receive assistance to do so is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for state ownership and control of an affordable, reliable, interconnected railway system is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for local authority-run libraries, pools, parks and recreation is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a national network of local, comprehensive post offices is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for state investment in council/social housing is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a visible police presence and 24/7 local stations is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a national programme of ‘green’ investment and jobs is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for personal privacy and data security is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a fair and responsible tax system is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a reliable, liveable income is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a compulsory national school curriculum is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for local state schools to be so good as to be the first choice is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for even a simple, weekly rubbish collection is not respected.

What do you mean: not everyone wants those things?