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
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.
This is one of mankind’s greatest crimes. The ivory trade is threatening elephants with extinction. Persistent poaching of animals with the biggest tusks has messed with their evolution. Elephants are being born without tusks.
Humans are a plague on the planet we share with other animals. We are our own worst enemy. We still have the power, if not the will, to protect other animals from us.
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“God bless us, every one!” Tiny Tim, in A Christmas Carol, 1843, by Charles Dickens
This fortress built by Nature for herself,
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…
Shakespeare, Richard II, c. 1595
We have to convince all other countries that the Nazi tyranny is going to be finally broken.
The right to guide the course of world history is the noblest prize of victory….The task which lies before us immediately is at once more practical, more simple and more stern.
I hope – indeed, I pray – that we shall not be found unworthy of our victory if after toil and tribulation it is granted to us.
For the rest, we have to gain the victory.
That is our task.
Winston Churchill, ‘The Few’, August 20th, 1940
The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it,
malice may distort it, but there it is.
Winston Churchill, May 17th 1916.
The Conservative Party enforcers put the screws on elected representatives known to be in support of the Repeal Bill that begins the unravelling of the UK’s laws from EU legislation.
The parliamentary party Whips are euphemistically described as “team managers”, which must explain the reluctance of this blogger to be a member of anything.
During the current fight to Britain’s death, aka Brexit, the ruling party Whips reduced “a female MP to tears”. That’s how it’s reported in all the press, from blue to pink to red. Not “reduced an MP to tears” but a “female” MP.
Don’t take me there, the trampled shrine where the true victims lie speechless and forgotten.
Artemisia Gentileschi Judith Beheading Holofernes 1611-12 Oil on canvas Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples. Image source: WGA
DON’T WHIP ME AGAIN
“The tectonic plates of the world economy are shifting. With an independent trade policy, Britain can put itself in a strong position to benefit, opening up access to fast-growing markets across the world.” Liam Fox, in The Financial Times, 11 November, 2017
The imperial British vision of free trading Ships at Spithead 1797
Image source: Wikipedia
“There can now be little doubt: this will be the last century of civilisation in any form we currently recognise.”
John Constable Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows c. 1830
Private collection. Oil on canvas. Image source: WGA
You don’t have to be someone who voted Remain to send a message to the Government that they must change course if any of the things we need and value are to be salvaged. Leavers are being betrayed, too.
The country that Brexit will create is not the one we love. The fight to stop Brexit is bigger than the fight to stay in Europe.
If you want a united, modern, fair country, stop Brexit.
Brexit will impoverish our economy, our health service and our culture. It will make many of the working poor destitute. It will split families and blight future generations. It is idiotic, xenophobic, unrealistic. It does not represent the best of Britain.
The political culture in England is sick, and it will infect the whole of the United Kingdom and your own families, everything you love, unless you act now to STOP BREXIT.
Save us, by all the means at your disposal.
Our elected representatives in Parliament appear to be unreasoning animals who do not feel pain or emotions as they devour the best of Britain’s past and future.
The EU Withdrawal Bill is a withdrawal from civilization.
“….Brexit is corroding the national consensus on what sort of country we are, tearing the fabric of our society, and pointing us in a third-world direction.” A.C. Grayling, The New European