Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 04 Dec 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

The new quietism

The right has won. Trump is in the ascendant in the US, Britain voted for Brexit and the election of Le Pen in France will finally blow the EU apart altogether. Right wing parties are on the march across the world and, if you’re left wing, the darkness is now set to continue in perpetuity for pretty much the rest of your life. We’re about to see major structural changes to the way that the world works that will probably never be undone; what we have is a return to what there was before, which is states that are mutually suspicious of each other like toddlers at a playgroup. The past was just a holiday.

So what do you do, in amongst all this? For a start, you decide that you’re no longer going to look for cheap, threadbare hope. The Richmond result and American recounts have been seized on by people who want to pretend that it’s not happening or can, in some great and undefined way, be reversed, as though the votes of millions of stupid people can be waved away. They can’t. And those stupid people? They’re your society. Look at them, and see them, perhaps for the first time, because that’s who you live amongst. People who think they can ‘make America great again’ or, heaven help us all, get a slightly quicker GP appointment.

If there is no political hope, what everyone needs to do is to recognise that there is individual hope. How? Well, we’re now all living in a system in which the rights of the individual are said to be sovereign. Their patron saint, Margaret ‘Dead’ Thatcher said that there is ‘no such thing as society,’ after all, so take them at their word. While they’re waving their Chinese-made flags and having a wank over a blue passport, you can simply elect not to participate. Patriotism bores me rigid and people that adhere to it are generally the kind of leaden-witted fuck who confuse ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ and who couldn’t use an apostrophe if their lives depended on it, but nobody is holding a gun to my head and making me take part in group masturbation over the Queen. They’re all too caught up in their odd little narratives to notice.

If you have money and the inclination, it goes without saying that you should leave the Anglosphere as fast as you can, although France is probably not a great bet, either. Find a job, learn the language and forget that you were ever British. And if, like me, you’re doomed to live here for the rest of your life because you can’t find a job anywhere else, that life will be pretty shit from here on in, but it’s getting fairly shit now. I can’t find a job, because I’m overqualified for the rubbish ones and nobody else is recruiting, so how much worse can it get? Answer: it can’t. Whether they have their little Brexit or not, whether UKIP do what they really want and goose-step down the high street or not, this isn’t going to make any difference to my frankly bollocks quality of life.

People might, quite rightly, say that this isn’t all about me. Well, the snippy response to this is that my life is all about me and the less snippy response is to point out that my capacity to influence anything much is effectively zero. If the Government decided it was going to gas asylum seekers or everyone with ginger hair, I couldn’t do anything about it either, because I can’t move abroad and I don’t want to get shot. I don’t agree with it, but beyond putting a post on Twitter saying something along the lines of ‘don’t gas asylum seekers and people with ginger hair,’ there’s nothing I could do. I live in a safe Tory seat, so there’s no actual point voting, either, so I’m for a life of political quietism from here on in.

Make no mistake: people are going to die. People born outside the UK who are the victim of hate crimes, people born in the UK who look foreign, asylum seekers, disabled and mentally ill people caught up in Kafkaesque welfare to work tests, homeless people and thousands of others who the idiot majority simply doesn’t care about for the simple reason that They Aren’t Like Them. Again, my capacity to change this is the square root of fuck all. I can’t pass legislation and I can’t humanise a Government who can do pretty much whatever they want as long as white people like it enough to vote for it. A lot of people are going under the bus, but the chances most people will care when there’s a dull ‘thump’ are not high. As long as they don’t have to kill them themselves and it’s outsourced to people like G4S, that’s fine.

Were the Government so minded, they could plant stuff on my computer, charge me and make the public enemy number one. Equally, they could have me removed from the house in the middle of the night, shot and then shoved into the Channel. Very few people would care. You don’t win against people with this kind of power and you certainly don’t, in that sadly hilarious phrase, ‘make a difference.’ Life, in a right wing state for a person with left wing views, has to be about shutting up and not making waves, because it’s simply a waste of energy. Or someone will punch your teeth in. Either way, it’s not an appealing vista.

I have hundreds of books, access to a vast library of music, film and TV programmes and that’s pretty much as good as it gets. The patriots and the politicians who have worked out that, by pandering to them, they can hold power forever can get on with doing whatever it is that grooves their particular truffles, while I sit here and have a listen to Beethoven. They’ll all, like me, be under the sod soon enough, and I’d rather spend the intervening time doing something I enjoy than holding a placard and shouting emptily. As a final thought, there are two types of people: ones who know this and ones who will know it soon. While 2016 was rubbish, it’s only going to get worse.

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