Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage


This article was written on 13 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.


If you’re left wing and believe in change, England isn’t the place for you. We’ve essentially been governed by the same bunch of people since the Norman Conquest who are infinitely clever, because they’ve worked out that if they invite a few, select people to join, we won’t notice their existence and will think that we’re living in a meritocracy. Which we aren’t, of course. When you have to go to Oxford to be in with a shout of being Prime Minister, we really aren’t at all.

But if, like me, you happen to be British, with British parents and British grandparents, your chances of getting another citizenship are not that great. In addition, my partner still seems to believe in the country and doesn’t want to leave, so I find myself in a bit of a bind. What I’ve come up with, however, is a radical solution to which I’ve attached a whole new name. A neologism for neologistic concept, if you like. It’s call apolitics.

Apolitics is essentially a selfish creed. I make no bones about that. Were I to see a hate crime take place in front of me, then I’d absolutely intervene or, if I thought there was a threat to life, call the police. Prejudice or discrimination have no place in my worldview. They do, however, have a place in Britain’s worldview, which means that any attempt to reduce prejudice or combat discrimination is ultimately doomed to fail and do no more than use up the protagonists’ energy.

I’ve said elsewhere that the side of my ex-father in law’s filing cabinet, nearest to my desk, was covered in the stickers of various marches he’d been on and causes that he believed in. All were absolutely correct, from not abolishing the GLC, which was abolished anyway, through to Coal Not Dole, which was right, if misguided, to Nuclear Power? No Thanks, which has also gone absolutely nowhere. Had I been him, I’d have done the same and marched with fire in my belly but, at the end of it, I’d have seen that I was wasting my time.

With apolitics, then, I withdraw not only from party politics, which is going to become dominated by the Tories and UKIP for the rest of my natural life, but from cause-based politics as well. This is because any cause I’d support is, by dint of my left wing politics, doomed to fail. From closing libraries to protesting about the rise of food bank usage, it won’t work. The people who close the libraries and drive people to food banks are in charge and they really aren’t going to be listening to me anytime soon.

There’s another way in which apolitics is essentially selfish. I’m white and male. The world is designed to keep me comfortable and make me content, if not actually happy. I don’t need to worry about racism or sexism, because both work in my favour, for all that I know they’re wrong and deeply invidious to a civilised society. I can’t, however, do anything about them, given that both UKIP and the Tories are stuffed to the gunnels with racists, sexists and xenophobes. When the people in charge are against you, then you can’t hope to prevail.

What remains is clarity about the end goal. I want to make enough money that I am comfortable, which means that voluntary work will, for the time being at least, have to take a hit. And beyond that, I’d still like to build a life for myself overseas. At first, I wanted to go straight to Gatwick, get on a plane and not even come back for my stuff, which would probably have cost me my relationship. Now, I recognise that I probably have a couple of years of patient contacts-building and pounding the streets of European cities before I can convince her that it’s anything like a viable long-term option.

No matter. I’m normally at my best when the odds are against me and the benefit of apolitics is that it frees me up to start paying attention to what matters – namely me and my well-being, which is something I haven’t paid enough attention to. So I chase work in this country to fund me going to mainland Europe and desperately trying to build a life there before the door slams shut. To be clear, I’ll write copy for anyone and do anything, provided it pays well. My previous mistake was to apply the dictates of conscience to this, which doesn’t work, because having a conscience can be expensive. Apolitics has rewritten the rules. Now it’s all to play for.

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