I was thinking all night of the post I’d write about a clock, an 18th century clock. It started with the clock, anyway, and ended up being more about a mother and daughter.
It was going to be a post about self-isolation and self-improvement, about reason and tolerance defeating ignorance and greed, about women’s fight for equality and independence; about jealousy and love, egos and guillotines; about rebellion and restraint; about philosophy, education and religion; about gaiety, satire and burlesque – lyrics from Gypsy were going to be included (“Sing out, Louise”) – it was a mess, less than the sum of its parts.
The object still exists for you to look at. All you need from me is a link. No words. Everything has been said before. No more blogging, I say.
Instead, I’m copying and pasting a Tweet from the journalist John Crace, about today’s cause célèbre, the latest gobsmacking hypocrisy of the Vote Leave coup leaders who are turning the ancient democracy of Great Britain into a shoddy dictatorship, a tax haven for corrupt, nihilist capitalists, while the rest of us, if we survive the plague, will die from poverty and bitterness, and malnutrition from lowered food standards.
We will be deprived of freedom of movement to work and live and love where we want in Europe, our continent. For some of us, that freedom and that love are the meaning of life itself. We have been dispossessed. We are aliens in our own country.
The rich will still be able to do what they want, just as Cummings, Great Britain’s eminence grise, did during lockdown, when, knowing he and his wife had COVID-19, he flouted government restrictions by travelling 260 miles to visit his elderly parents with his four year-old child.
Cummings, in his own mind the child of Machiavelli and Nietzsche, doesn’t care; the pastiche prime minister/world king manqué and his equally over-entitled, even creepier associates (who can’t wait to stab him in the back) don’t care; they know there will be no consequences for the shameless. They are unaccountable. They have called democracy’s bluff.
They prey on human frailty. They play on the ordinary person being as selfish and venal as they are. They taunt and tempt like the sleazy admen and dodgy goods’ salesmen they are.
Everything they offer you has fallen off the back of a lorry. They know most of us know. They don’t care. Look how we can spin! Aren’t we funny! More entertaining than the Opposition. Razzamatazz! (Theatre is dead, due to Coronavirus, showing off isn’t.) Bragging how you have twisted the truth impresses more, nowadays, than telling the truth.
If you weren’t as bad as them before, you will be soon.
John Crace on Twitter:
According to @michaelgove
and other cabinet ministers,
those of us who didn’t break government guidelines
to drive 250 miles just didn’t love
our families and friends enough
If only Number 10 had acted as quickly and forcefully on the pandemic in March as it has to save Dominic Cummings
And, because I can’t bear to leave you without something old and pretty, here’s the link to a relic from the Age of Enlightenment and Reason, a neoclassical feminist clock illustrating the power of solitude:
“One must work with time and not against it.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
The Power of Loneliness or The Loneliness of Power? I think it’s the former.
There’s a value in social distance and self-reflection that we humans have been overlooking.
We are not all herd animals, and the pressure to conform has been damaging.
Self-isolation is the least of our national problems at the moment.
This cat is king, and he’s not getting palliated by any crackpot, incompetent, nihilistic human government.
He will live and die as he wants. A free cat.
photo © 2020 Martin Hübscher Photography
Despite his soul-piercing look of reproach, hope springs eternal while King Cat surveys
the ruins of his kingdom left by human occupation.
Boris Johnson is reputed to compare himself to Britain’s World War II leader, Winston Churchill, a showman with genuine political foresight whose rhetoric thrilled a nation into active resistance: “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.
A narcissist who thrives on attention, Johnson probably won’t be upset by some of the hilarious parodies now in circulation:
Johnson and Trump are both corruptly democratically elected dictators and share personal characteristics. There are two differences, balancing each other out. The first is personal. Trump is stupid and instinctive, Johnson is intelligent and calculating. The second is circumstantial. Trump rules a super power, Johnson is the figurehead of a declining power that has done the “stupidest thing any nation has ever done” (Bloomberg) in choosing Brexit, making its own people poorer and its global influence impotent.
Johnson did not believe in Brexit in 2016, and we may safely assume he doesn’t believe in it now. He doesn’t care. He believes in himself. It is not a coincidence that humans are being led by megalomaniac lying narcissists at the beginning of the end of the world. Even if we didn’t vote for them ourselves, we didn’t fight hard enough to stop them.
So we are all accountable.
We have got to fight harder. Or have we? What do you want to do? People have always adapted, haven’t they? Survival of the fittest and all that? Is that what you want? Is that the sensible thing to do?
Johnson’s absence lotus-eating while Trump plays WWIII games with world peace and the Australian burns has been called cowardice. That jibe would cut most of us to the quick. Not Johnson. Not Trump. Their narcissism gives them armour for self-preservation that the average person doesn’t have.
They don’t care. That’s why they are successful, that is why they were elected by people in flight from the horrors of reality, overfed on lies and false promises, bored by facts, obsessed by structured reality shows, who wanted leaders in their own image to reassure themselves that they are good. They don’t care that it’s a lie. That’s where we are in evolution. The age of denial before extinction.
It’s not going to happen in your lifetime? So you don’t care? I hold you to account. I hold myself to account, too, but I would rather scream alone in the dark than break bread with any collaborator.
We are witnessing the slow agonizing death of our world, and most people don’t care. So they follow leaders who make not caring look aspirational.
Look! Be a PM or President with a subjugated trophy women at your side! Look! Tax havens! Free use of millionaires’ villas on sleazy sex islands! Look!
Sofa by Ekhi-Guinea
We still have a choice. We either continue to self-medicate or we get off the sofa and fight.
If we are financially able, we must give money to those who need it more.
If we are physically able, we must resist and protest.
and the tale hath had its effect….like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead. Jonathan Swift
All the world wondered.
“But for what purpose was the earth formed?” asked Candide. “To drive us mad,” replied Martin.
The great English immigration question: Why was Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, sent to England?
“Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he”. Shakespeare, Hamlet
As a nation, once praised by the rest of the world for its common sense, marches to the sound of Trumpery ever nearer towards the cliff edge of “Global Britain”, we need to listen to the advice of friends, sincerely alarmed for our well-being. Nobody wants to see an old friend behaving irrationally, suffering delusions, swallowing a diet of deep fried lies and chlorinated chicken, deliberately detaching themselves from reality.
Delacroix Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard 1839
Quintessential pan-European heroes of English literature, visualized by a Frenchman, taking a look at 21st Century Brexit, the death of the UK as they and we know it.
Friends all over the world, not just EU Members, have warned us against Brexit for 3 years. Mark Rutte, the conservative-liberal Prime Minister of the Netherlands, candidly told us that Brexit would diminish the UK and that our own next Prime Minister is disregarding facts about trade, treaties and constitutions, all the stuff we thought politicians needed to know about. Johnson is a Post-Truth leader. He knows facts don’t matter to his supporters.
“Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?” Voltaire
Lying was not invented by Trump or Johnson. They’ve just dumbed it down for modern consumption, and it’s working, just like extra sugar, fat and salt have worked.
But the thing about these demagogues, these narcissists spouting racism and sexism with impunity on either side of the Atlantic, these satanic tempters of human vice disguised as wobbly blonde clowns, the thing that lets them get away with betraying the national interest while promoting their own, is that they are rich, very, very rich. They can afford to tell lies because they, unlike the majority of us, can afford the consequences.
“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” Voltaire
New tariffs, higher basic food and drink prices, job redundancies, increased travel tax, the severance of rights to work and love abroad, the erosion of workers rights and environmental and food standards, the cancelled scientific and cultural projects, the loss of opportunity for equality and liberty, the loss of all the things that make the human condition bearable, which was once collectively called civilization, don’t matter to the Brexit ringleaders because they can buy the food and holiday and lover and power they want.
You vote for a madman, you get a mad country.
Or, as a European friend to humanity warned in a more elegant turn of phrase, long, long ago:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire
Will anything spewed on to my obscure web page change a mind? Of course not. I am not an Influencer. I am one of a million Cassandras, shrieking on our self-assembled walls.
I defer to Remainer Now, the community for people with the courage to change their minds, heroes of the corrupt 2016 Referendum, along with Led by Donkeys, who have given the ineffectually led Remain cause the inspirational marketing that it needed from the beginning.
Led by Donkeys projection on the White Cliff of Dover, appealing to our historic friends in Europe for help in our time of madness, 2019
The right to change our minds is at the heart of democracy. That is why, after a civil war and constitutional revolution or two, we have fixed term parliaments. The idea was to save us from tyranny. Brexit is delivering us to a specifically modern tyranny, designed by oligarchs to be delivered by the people against the people. There are risks to another referendum (the third in UK on EU membership, not the second) but it would be entirely democratic in principle.
“Alas!” replied Candide, “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”
“I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off…and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley – in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered – or simply to sit here and do nothing?’
A true friend tells you the truth, even when it hurts. We are all better at judging other people’s mistakes than our own. The reflection that I see in the mirror is not the person other people see.
We should listen to friendly warnings before we walk over a cliff. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13.20.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne, Meditation XVII
PROJECTION ON THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER DURING BREXIT CRISIS
“This precious stone set in a silver sea…this England” has been defaced by nationalism, lies and misinformation. Some of us are still fighting to Stop Brexit, Save Britain.
Please support us.