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Occupy London

Even as I write this I know my voice will get lost; that there must be upwards of a hundred thousand blogs on this same subject, with this same view, by now.  But sometimes the fingers have to write.  That is nature.

We need to use this word ‘democracy’ with care.  If something is worth having, it is worth nurturing, venerating, bringing into being.  It should never be entrusted to those who seek power, because power does not have a voice in a democracy:  only wisdom should have a voice.

In truth, all ideals in modern society are reduced to emotive words.  They mean precisely nothing, because each one of them is  just a tool subjugated to the will of those who seek power.   And if they are ever to gain credence (personally I don’t believe they ever had it) it will require a seed change so entire that world revolution will seem a paltry description.   Old idealist that I am, I believe the web could be the means to that change:  one language to bring the world of real people together.  But in the meantime….

So ‘bailiffs’ have moved in on the St. Paul’s occupation (worth mentioning, incidentally, that the Occupy London movement never intended to be there – their target was the City itself and the Bank of England, I believe.  they were herded there in the first place by the police) – interesting word, ‘bailiff’.   A faceless word.   Who are they, these minions of the State?   Years ago in the miners’ strike Margaret Thatcher proved you could make anyone a policeman just by putting the right coloured coat on their back, so what coloured coat does a bailiff wear?  Underneath, what are they?  Army?

You see where I’m going.   England just had its very comfortable, very English little Prague Spring, all done with that panache of which the faceless ones who rule us are so proud:  so utterly British, so appreciated by the country at large who never experience the brutishness of the traditional English copper, who have never been ‘kettled’ until they can’t breathe.  And so controlled in its media exposure that its truth is scarcely seen.

We have learned a lot since Peterloo, since ‘Derry.  But where progress is concerned, we seem to have moved forward not one step.

These last few weeks it seems I have been driven by the demands of e-publication:  the advent of the e-book, whilst a great new frontier for the aspiring writer, is a hard task-master.  So much time has to be devoted to chasing those little errors around the screen – a task which, in times gone by, was the province of the great unseen – those who held the grease-guns to the engine of the press.   It is an experience very like arriving for a meal at a fine restaurant, only to be told to assist in cooking it first. 

Is that arrogant?  Well yes, I suppose it is.  Wasn’t it Laurie Lee who extolled the virtues of writing by hand:  the flow and rhythm of the mind and the pen, etcetera?  And sometimes I truly wish I could write by hand, but I confess the keyboard has very much become my pen, and the flow and rhythm part has been replaced by RSI, or something of the like.  So now I am paying the price of ease.  Although I may not wish it, the engine room is still very much with us;  the skills required may differ – HTML does not respond particularly to a grease-gun – but ‘word processing’ is far from simple.  In fact the very term is a lie.

I am learning, though, and could learn so much more, if there were more time.  But writing is an obsession – even this – and each moment I sit before this screen is a moment lost if I am not saying something, telling a story to someone, trying to make life better! 

If I examine the changes of the years, that is the difference:  for so much of my life writing has been self-indulgent, a personal expression maybe to sensitive to be exposed to daylight.  Now, I need to share, need to relate, which is why so much of my ‘old stuff’ no longer works.  I have to begin anew; and as I draw dangerously close to December, a fortnight chasing dots is a long time.

Serious Sunday

Speaking from the depths of a society which has succeeded in reducing its vox populi to a rodent squeak it is hard to be positive about freedom.   We are constantly told we have it:  when we dare to suggest we don’t banners of fascist dictatorships from around the world are waved in our faces;

“So, would you rather live here, eh?  Be grateful, you don’t realise how lucky you are!”

As a loyal subject of course I have no right to question the superior knowledge of those who rule me,  and I happily anticipate standing upon Portsmouth dockside in 2020 to salute our new aircraft carrier as it sails by.  And if I am blessed I will there again in 2026 when it returns, this time with aeroplanes on it.   Or drones.  Or missiles……?   I will wait dutifully before the Accident and Emergency desk while the secretary persuades our multi-million pound computer system that it knows me, and I will wave my finger (damaged trying to lift a draincover – worth a tenner at the scrapyard) in triage as dramatically as I can to get on the shortlist for treatment.   I am a British subject, and my voice is very, very small.

I am, I think, tolerant.   I am not a fascist, racist, Homophobe, anti-Semitist,  sexist, militant, creationist, socialist, communist, or any other ist you might wish to bring up.  I believe that all forms of bigotry are ugly, all varieties of cant are unpleasant.   I dislike arguments devoid of reason but – and it is a very big but – I would absolutely endorse their right to existence, and utterly support their right to be heard.   If human life has any richness it is in its variety, and if life itself is not to be colourless they must have their share of the palette.  Which is why I am genuinely fearful today.

I am fearful because thought crime is becoming part of our culture:  because we may no longer voice opinion in an ever-growing number of issues without being guilty of an offence – punishable by a prison sentence if we offend English law or a bomb if we outrage the Mus-uits.  What’s more these offences seem to require a very slender thread of proof; they rely upon a lot of hearsay and circumstantial evidence.   Freedom to insult is of doubtful value but we employ it rather more frequently than we should.   If I call someone ‘a thick club-footed peasant’  (and that’s mild by football crowd standards) it may be unpleasant, but it is not an offence.  However, if I call someone ‘a thick, club-footed  ***** peasant’  I can end up in gaol.

Why am I so concerned by this?  Because every new petty offence added to the ‘Statute Book’ is another opportunity to suppress.  The suppression of freedom of speech, whether we agree with the views expressed or not, whether we find them offensive or not, must be opposed with all possible effort.  Without that we have finally succumbed to the police state – if we haven’t already – and my small voice, and your small voice and the tiny squeak of the people is lost.