‘much worse than that’

World: Are you really this stupid or have you completely lost control?

UK Government: 🍰

**

“Brexit Britain doesn’t even have a solid relationship with the rest of the archipelago it inhabits… If it were a personal ad, it would read: ‘Petulant bolter seeks stable, lifelong relationship.’” – Fintan O’Toole (Guardian/Observer)

”If only we were still in the days when governments did things which were merely stupid. This is much worse than that.” – Ian Dunt

“No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore” – Steven Erlanger (NYT)

“To old friends, Great Britain, as they used to call it, is in the clasp of an inexplicable fever. Renowned for solidity and pragmatism, the Brits have fallen to rage and resentment. Carefully judged self-interest has surrendered to dangerous dogmatism.” – Philip Stephens (FT)

[I highly recommend politics.co.uk and Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? by Ian Dunt, who is widely considered an authority on the matter]

Nuance of a hinge

Muse:
The hallowed husk
Of platitudes
The crucible
Of old disquieting views

Political androids
Source of Good News
Pop-ups
Say one; mean two
Speak
Easy nothing

She is emptiness
A husk of blue
Playing truthiness
He is too full of know-it red
A work of doubt
In progress

Choose your equivocating quicksand:
Badly programmed robot
Human hologram

Cut on the bias

The one four zero firing squad,
In characters, cut on the bias;
Judge and jury, fury fuelled
Unsubtle, show
There’s none so blind as
What believed becomes
I know
And what is paid attention grows
To bind the mind
To preconception –
Each direction bound for Rome.
They seek them here; they seek them there
And register signs everywhere
To personalise in tones
That suffocate and trivialise the greater play
And woe betide all messengers –

Well, they would say that,
Wouldn’t they…

Boris, IDS and Gove

Behold the bellicose outflow
Of phisher wisp politicos

Boris, IDS and Gove
Gish and Guess and Adipose
With grandiose portfolios
Tomorrow’s whiff, today compose

Rebranders of the status quo
Twisting in their pantyhose
[More prick than patriotic rose]
Insisting what they must suppose
In polyphonic piffled prose
To show how much they cannot know

Cognition disabled

Between want and its think,
does the intellect shrink
to reject all conditions
that challenge position
as feeling meets static
in willing fanatics,
attracted to zealotry,
simple and tacit.

Cognition disabled,
crude labels get fabled
in finely tuned riffs,
adding pith to the myths
that enable the risibly
cheap narratives

as if actual factuals
didn’t exist;
as if truth got its proof
by the gift of low wish
and the gallop of Gish

until, hook, line and sinker
the sheep become fish

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.

Free Speech

“‘Men,’ said the Devil, ‘are good to their brothers: they don’t want to mend their own ways, but each other’s'” ~ Piet Hein

Freedom of Speech is an inherent extension of Free Will and Freedom of Thought, born of (call it God, biology, both – I care not) an influence, greater than Religion, Government or Society – despite an often relentless effort. It isn’t a Right to be given by some human benevolence; it can only be diminished, lost and taken away, by either our own sloth or by oppression. Free speech is just that. It is only limited by imaginative thresholds. The OED cites it as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint”. What follows an act of free speech, however, are its reception and repercussions, either as tolerance or agreement or by punishment under Law (as with hate speech) or by Society’s or peer group condemnation. So, the right to speak freely is obviously not cost-free. Responsibility and consequence are tightly interwoven.

The right and responsibility belongs with the speaker/writer, who must choose whether or not to risk the possible consequences of controversy, retribution or lawful punishment. This does not mean you have no right to react; to be offended – though neither is compulsory. If you take offence it is up to you how you respond and the consequences of your response, justified or not, are your responsibility. There is actually nothing to prevent a person falsely claiming ‘”fire!” in a crowded theatre’ except for the awareness of possible legal reach, AFTER the fact and, obviously, having the common sense and some sense of responsibility we hope is felt toward one’s fellow citizens – whether the oft-used fire! analogy is an act of terrorism, public order or incitement, I haven’t yet discovered. I’ve always felt a bit uneasy about incitement, though. I understand the reasons why we have laws to prohibit it, like keeping public order, concerns about brainwashing, etc and I’m not suggesting repeal. It’s just that the line between the responsibility of the ‘inciter’ and the responsibility of the audience seems obtuse. Doesn’t the adult listener/reader/viewer also bear some responsibility for how s/he receives and responds to information? What does it say about Society and Education if s/he does not..? What happened to ‘and if (…) told you to jump off a cliff, would you do that, too..?’

So, the responsibility of choice – perhaps that is what’s really ‘free’ about free speech.

If I don’t entirely have free speech then it may be for benign reasons: because it has been restricted by, for example, a professional code to which it would be presumed that I’d adhered voluntarily; or for malevolent reasons: from because my expression is being deliberately edited or erased, to having my means of communication actually physically curbed, to imposition by some external force, such as a real fear of brutal, sanctioned punishment.

If I actively choose not to say something then I am self-censoring – I am choosing to exercise restraint. I have the right to withhold my thoughts. This might be because I need/want to be diplomatic; because I am afraid of an angry consequence or of hurting someone’s feelings; because it could be seriously detrimental to my prospects. Societal fashions, the diktats of ‘Authority’, Media and political framing and the responses of my peers might contribute to, even shape my thoughts, values and conscience but, how I perceive such influences and pressures and how I act, according to or against their direction, says as much about the character of my environment as it does about my own character.

When facts become whoever shouts loudest and longest and people cease to think independently and critically; when the world is suffering due to decades of atrocious foreign policies; when State and Society become heavy with the moralising, paranoid and hysterical burdens of invented authority, perceptions about what freedom is, occupy a dangerous, fragile and shifting space, subject to manufactured fashions, propaganda, segregation, disaffection, old sensibilities and populist reactions. Once one becomes affected or infected by this, personality, spirit and free will are increasingly encroached upon and suffocated. Then it’s getting to put up or shut up, fight or flight time. However, when such ‘authority’, whether democratically elected or self-awarded, has to suppress and micro-manage its environment and scrutinise and herd the lives of its fellow citizens, it is already a lost cause whose eventual end is inevitable.

Whilst I worry about and can understand the upset and danger in cheap, nasty, gratuitous provocations, I would be very worried, indeed, if we legislated to punish expression based on someone’s taste or manners. I think there’s a fine line, sometimes, between looking to ridicule, wound or make vulnerable to serve a wilful ignorance or ideology and finding something genuinely significant as to be worthy of comment. It’s a pretty subjective line. I accept that it’s for me to draw a line where I am. I can’t draw yours for you. Nor you, mine. I can only control whether or not I like where you draw yours. And you, mine. Independent thinking, conscience, having boundaries (and trying to respect others’), applying discernment… We all have lessons to learn and motives to check…

“Forgiveness recognises what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred” ~ A Course in Miracles

[Some of this post was transposed from ‘Manifest Thought’ and ‘On No Good Authority’]

The origin of falsely claiming ‘”fire!” in a crowded theatre’ and ‘Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on the use and abuse of that quote.’ as told to Tim Black

 

War of Ever Moar

Always and ever war
Settle scores
Make some more

Proper telly

All the poor are getting restless
Now the curtain of illusion
Hangs upon its loosened threads

Fill their hunger in the belly
With a loaf of fear to quell it
And replenish the confusion
In their angry little heads

For the appetite of mongers swells
In need of ever moar
And the teat is dry and sore
Hear them roar

Mission creeping up all shores
Smoke and mirror seeping
Through unguarded doors

In the discourse
In the bourse
In the Law
Kicking up a storm

Force
Lost cause
Cost assured

Giving welly to triumphalism
Funding fundamentalism
Doffing caps to despotism
Home and abroad

Funny,
What you can afford…