Nothing very “centrist” about that.

Laissez-faire
Less fair
Fewer fare
Welfare

Nothing very “centrist” about that. I remember when the common complaint of the Left was that Labour had moved to the right; that it was ‘Blue Labour’ and I remember how the Conservatives had the nerve to claim that they held the Centre when it had clearly shifted the country to the Right. Those were the days when the idea of a middle/the centre, though politically subjective, was understood to be relative; a moveable feast, eagerly sought and fought for – when to be moderate was not condemned as wishy-washy and most certainly was not used as a euphemism for ‘neoliberal’.

I wrote loads, here and on twitter, about the centre and the middle. Some of it was creative mischief or naive reactionary hyperbole, of course (just scroll up and type “middle” or “centre” into the search box) but the connective thread through my arguments was not and the topic was ripe in the Press and on social media. Back then, I was tweeting such sentiments as: “Labour stop fuss-assing with this insipid centre ground tosh. Take us Left & call it “The Centre” like Thatcher & Blair taught us 😉 #bbcsp” [April, 2013]

Those were the days when the middle/the centre was a desirable direction for those who are now calling anti-Brexit and not-keen-on-Corbyn people “centrists”, as though to hold such a position were right-wing and, therefore, anathema to Reason and decency. They forget that, like austerity, moderation is more than just a socio-economic philosophy. It is also an attitude; a reflection of an inner worldview response, mindful of extremism and hysteria, constantly taking responsibility for checking itself. There is nothing Thatcherite, neoliberal, Blairite or any other lazy labelling about that. There is little about our current political climate that is.

bet the World

Man, in all his vanity,
so eager to compete,
has bet the World
to beat her at destruction to create,
by the design of an intelligence
he fakes.

This is the way

Here we go ’round the Burning Bush
Just one more push
Now shake your tush
Here we go ’round the Burning bush
Praying for an illusion

This is the way we keep the dosh
By corp’rate cosh
Woo hoo! Bish bosh!
This is the way we feed at the trough
Every day is our payday

This is the way we slave each day
Well, you, anyway
From cradle to grave
This is the model we have paved:
Delegating your serfdom

This is the way we spin our words
That’s right, you heard
Define ‘absurd’
This is the way we shepherd the herds:
Every act by our say so

This is the way we use our tools
To shape the rules
Ha ha! You fools!
This is the way we pull the wool
So close your eyes a bit tighter

This is the way we bake your heads:
He said/she said
Our daily bread
This is the way we mould your dread
All our facts are elastic

This is the way we iron our crimes:
We cross a line
Then redefine
This is the way we waste your time
So we will see you next Tuesday

 

[August 2014] Plus ça change…

Magic Money Tree

Magic me a money tree
So I can eat its nimble fruit
A bonsai for my patio
Would be so cool and look so cute

I promise to be sensible
About the purposes it feeds
I won’t create an orchard
For a harvest of gratuities

I will not squander its supply
For quantitative daily ease
Nor let it grow unwieldy
Like a beanstalk or an eager weed

I’d spend it on posterity
For ethical prosperity
With vision, tangible and wise
I’d build a life that’s worth the price

Just send a little cutting
And I’ll nurture it with love
Let me feel the sunny uplands
Like the canopy above

 

 

 

needs must

”The Poor”
How easily the classification slips
Through mind to lips, definitive,
Beyond regret and sorrow
Resignation
For ye have the poor with you always
Here endeth the lesson:
Today’s fact of life; tomorrow’s imperative
Yesterday was inevitable
And needs must when
Whole industries have been created to sustain
A spectator sport. Entry fee: hand-wringing
As the meek shall inherit
It was written