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?

Overtones

Leaving
For lack of backbone
Remains of the day
Unknown
For shame
A snaking vertebrate explained

Tony Blair is right. Despising the messenger doesn’t change that. Ignoring the message merely assists in cutting off the nation’s nose to spite its face. Don’t waste anger and contempt on Blair but turn it on all those politicos who could have and should have made such a speech. Shame on them that they have left such a gap for him, in the first place.

Lull me a lullaby

Lull me a lullaby
Sand in my eyes
Buy me a mockingbird
Give me the sky

Betcha by golly
Wow, build me a folly
Bring me some Kool Aid
And fill up the trolley

Sprinkle the pixie dust
Set up a blind trust, go
Short of a picnic
And cut off the crusts

Pipe me a loony tune
Red, white and blue my shoes
Kansas is dying
Jump over the moon

thinks it has me pegged

The political commentariat thinks that those who despair of Brexit and President-elect Trump are the “liberal elite” and that those who have voted for either are the “left behind”. Deep political, philosophical, cultural and, I’d say, spiritual angst, are being reduced, wholeheartedly, to a dangerous binary that exploits the overlaps and suppresses the nuance.

I’m fifty years old. I was born in the South-East of England. I come from a loving, blue-collar to fairly ambitious middle-class family. We moved around the country a fair bit, when I was a child, for opportunity’s sake and I had some adventures, travelling abroad when I was a young, independent adult. I now live in Cornwall, having arrived here through marriage, twenty-plus years ago and then not leaving, when it ended.

I’ve been to eight different schools: two of them in Scotland and two of them small, private ones, in England – an infant/junior and a secondary. I know a bit about being “the new girl”. Albeit a bit disjointed, I still had a pretty good education. I went on to college, all expectations on me to go to University but I chose a badly fitting course and left to join the London commute when a job with professional opportunities was offered.

I’ve done a myriad of jobs, from menial to skilled, waged and salaried, both front of house and behind the scenes. I’ve been paid and voluntary. I’ve been trained, respected, cheated, head-hunted (not for anything particularly exceptional), bullied, well-rewarded and undermined along the way.

I’m a divorced, single mother of grown-up children, for whom I was, pretty much, the only unconditional, available and accessible constant, during their childhoods.

Since a stupid accident, these last few years, I have daily issues with pain and mobility and all the fatigue, frustration and depression they bring. I’ve had to battle my way through the constant stress of uncertainty and hostility of DWP assessments.

Just before I started this blog, I achieved a first class honours degree from the Open University.

It’s rare for me to reveal personal information, so why am I telling you this? Why the sudden, potted overview? Because each side of the binary that thinks it has me pegged, speaks of me but does not speak for me and is barely even speaking to me.

For one: I am not the “liberal elite”. ‘Liberal’ is not quite the same as just do anything you want and ‘elite’ is as different from elitism as ‘popular’ is from populism. I am liberal because I value the freedom of will and expression of everyone and I only wish I were an elite because it would mean I am actually, truly excellent at something.

And two: if there is a tick-box form to qualify for the Brexit/Trump “left-behind” – a clear demographic of the “forgotten” – I can probably tick a lot of their boxes. I’m a straight, white, middle-aged (I hope!), financially poor, vulnerable, female, single parent, with a good degree, living under years of governmental incompetence and malfeasance, in an area of the country quite lacking in ethnic and cultural diversity and with serious issues of neglect, poverty and deprivation, that voted for Brexit, despite years of EU funding.

But I do not like UKIP. I don’t like the Conservative Party (though I like some individual MPs). I’m monumentally disappointed with Labour, yet I’m not “a Blairite” and I don’t support Jeremy Corbyn (though I did try, for a little while). I think he fronts the kind of populist Left that leads, ultimately, to the same effects as the far right: oppressive bureaucracy, authoritarianism, virtue-signalling, censorship and fear.

I don’t think Capitalism is an evil, of itself (what we currently have is not even proper capitalism, anyway) but I don’t think it is the panacea for a sustainable and ethical socio-economic system, either. I’m not against making healthy profit. Just against profiteering. I have no problem with other people having more than me. Just not at my expense; by exploitation.

I think globalisation makes the World connected and accessible. I think that where it has undermined my quality of life, it is because of the policies of governments and international entities. The likes of Amazon, Sports Direct and Uber can only exploit me because my government lets them. Wealth and influence take unfair advantage because they can.

I believe in and love Humanity, Liberty, Law and Justice. I believe in universal Human Rights and equality of respect and dignity, regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, politics or religion – particularly and at least under Law and from those who administer policy and public service.

I respect and revere Science and the Arts. I believe in God and the sacredness and divinity of all things but I’m not religious and I support pluralist, secular governance. I believe in the State because I believe, perhaps poetically that, in a democracy, the People are the State.

I’ve become more cynical than I really want or ever expected to be but I don’t have a tin-foil hat.

I love my country, not blindly but warts and all. I bear her shame as I enjoy her pride. I am not a traitor to my country or an enemy of the western world because I cannot and will not compromise my principles to appease misguided hysteria and foolish vitriol, sweeping up with a jingoistic broom. Being concerned, even fearful about my country’s current trajectory and those of my neighbours, is not unpatriotic.

I am not “the liberal elite” that half of the political commentariat likes to imagine I must be. I am more like one of the “left behind” that the other half likes to patronise, fret over and console themselves with.

But I didn’t vote for Brexit and I would never have voted for Donald Trump and I despair of the crony socio-economic status quo as much as anybody. So, who, in Power, speaks for me? Where do I fit, in my country? Is this my country?

Blighty writ BIGLY

Blighty writ BIGLY
Engorged and enraged
Spilling forth from the lips
And the hate-filling page
Where it quickens the blood
Of the worried-well age
Churning faith into crud
Turning Will to blind rage
Slinging mud to obscure
To excuse and conflate
All the nonsense it wages
That darkens the State.

The Hordes’ Prayer

Ourselves, who art in flux,
Hollow be our game.
Our kingdom come.
Our will be done
In circuses as we are given.
Give us each day our daily threads.
And forgive us our tweets
As we forgive those who tweet against us.
And lead us not into correlation
But deliver us from weevils;
For ours is the kingdumb,
The sour and the poorly,
Forever [forever?]
Oh, man…

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…

Echo chamber on

He hardly imagined
Doing this job
But those that craved,
By the shortness of their slug-bitten roots,
The glamour of understudy to the leading Tory part,
Were so utterly deficient in the practise of social and economic justice –
So tainted by the lessons learned,
That he reluctantly emerged to stake his belief
In a wiser, fairer narrative and take his turn.
And there were cheers of relief and hope,
For the first time in years…

Cameras on…
Oh, for crying out loud, Jeremy
It’s too depressing to watch.
What Juli at Juxtaposed wants to know is
Where’s his bite?
Where is his wit?
Take that pompous little shit down, Jeremy.

Face-palm

It should be easy
But it’s like watching a doddery
Dithering old dear get tricked
by a bunch of bitchy school girls.
It’s depressing to see him miss opportunities
And take others so clumsily.
One step forward; two steps back.
It’s distressing to see him being beaten
By thugs in bow-ties and cufflinks;
Being tripped by the loose lips and tight grip
Of his own wing.
Of course they’re ‘out to get him’
He threatens the establishment
And they find it easy.

Time’s a-wasting
The longer the Con, the greater the mess
The more likely is real damage irreversible

Echo chamber on…
Sycophants cannot countenance criticism
His enemies steal pawns and create false flags of opportunity
The fickle, framing, parroting Press and oscillating planet TV
Extend and compress
And I confess to fleeting polysympathy

He is too sincere
Too principled
Too nuanced
For his dim detractors

He is a misunderstood hero
He is the answer
He is faultless
To his projecting groupies

He is not eloquent
He is not dynamic
He is not sophisticated
Not charismatic
Enough to instil support in the impatient
Not strong enough
Not hardened enough for such a vicious game

But it’s not about personality
It helps enormously
But it’s early days
When, then?

No offence, JC
But I can’t afford to wait
As much as it is about you
In the end it’s much bigger
Not losing is not the same as winning
Standing still is not a ‘movement’
Clinging on or slow burn
The country can’t afford to wait
Not for social justice

And not one like mind is there,
Being both palatable and more polished
And ready to replace him

And if not him, then who?
Oh, yes: plenty there, enough
To push their luck
But they have the polish of shaped wood
And still serve only splinters
They are covered in the foul glory of appeasement;
Filled with a vacuous vitriol, dancing tarantella
on the grave of self-awareness
Machinery
Indignant
And objecting
Because they think they are the true light and the way of the Party

Phfft…
I don’t care for their objections
They miss the point:
That most of them are not fit to shine his bicycle clips
That their world view is the kind that
Abstains when it should stand up
Frames when it should smash ceilings
Chases headlights and takes headlines as instruction
Carps and schemes and hinders and calls this listening and learning

I don’t have time for their indignant identity crisis
I don’t have time to fathom the collage of rhetoric and vision
I don’t have time for the perpetual dark night of their Party soul
The black hole into which all and any credibility holds hands
And forward rolls.

I ain’t

I ain’t no ‘Corbynista’
I ain’t no lefty loon
I ain’t your stick to beat him with
I ain’t deduced by parrot tunes

I ain’t no ‘Blairite’, neither
I ain’t that black and white
I ain’t your dream of what’s extreme
I ain’t the mirror you should fight

I ain’t your scapegoat matey
I ain’t your proxy fool
I ain’t got grace to save your face
I ain’t your weaponising tool

I ain’t your enemy within
I ain’t your threat without
I ain’t your bet; you ain’t my debt
I ain’t the reason you’re about

I ain’t your cause of irritation
I ain’t shaped by tribal lines
I ain’t got space for put-in-place
Oh, wait: I found some time. 😉