To Extinction Rebellion

With gratitude for placing the poor people of our cities under even greater stress, and for your relentless efforts in alienating the rest of us to the entire concept of climate change.

Can you take comfort, when you exercise in synthetic clothes, drink from plastic bottles instead of the tap, when you drive a car the battery of which is a disposability nightmare akin to that of nuclear waste, in the unwelcome truth that your contribution to ‘saving the planet’ is approximately zero?

Yes you can.

Please, recognise two simple, fundamental truths.

The sun is getting hotter.  There is nothing we can do about this, it is just a fact. 

There are too many people.  We can do something about this; we can say “miss out a generation”.  We can, but we won’t.  Think of the clamour!  The weeping protests!  The gnashing of teeth!  (I always fancied a bit of teeth gnashing – never tried it).  

We can recycle, we can:

  • Reduce our dependency on fossil fuels,
  • Harness the power of the wind (goodness knows we’ll get enough of it in the next ten years)
  • Empty our Jacuzzis and our hot tubs,
  • Stop wearing our clothes with once and throw away extravagance
  • Control our fetish for foreign travel,
  • Stop making unnecessary journeys
  • Retire to our energy-neutral pods. 

We can, and should, exploit the extra heat that is coming our way and re-deploy it:  after all, exploitation is something we’re good at.

But the bottom line is, my friends, we are a frail species when it comes to dealing with stuff like this.  

The megalomaniacs will still seek to take control, to conquer; the ‘not-what-you-know-but-who-you-know closet class will still fill the vital positions of management and mismanage them, the rabble-rousers will stir up insurrection when we should all be working as one, and the religionists will do much the same.

“Not my god’s fault, bro.   We kept telling you, didn’t we?  Your god should have listened!”

Personally, do I think our species will be wiped out? 

No.   We have reached a hiatus, that’s all; a much greater one, I think, than most of us understand.  Some of us will survive, just as the crocodile survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.  And if the planet has not been enveloped by the sun as a red giant, perhaps the ornithologists of fifty thousand years hence will be able to point out that we were probably warm-blooded and had feathers.

So this is my recommendation:  live life as though tomorrow is The Big Day.  

Do the sensible things like recycling; prefer natural fibres and wear clothes for longer, eliminate plastics as much as you can, perhaps travel a little less.   But beware of exploitation, because your fear is a fat contract that pressure groups and governments will seek to finance from your pockets, not always – in fact very rarely – with beneficial results.

The first rule for survival is – Be Wise.  

In Which Pooh and Piglet go Digital…

Every now and again we ‘olds’ get a signal that we have lived for long enough.

There is a ‘trial’ (appropriate word) happening in Manchester, England which weighs children annually from the age of three, informing parents through a website if their little darlings are ‘obese’.

This fresh invasion of the Fit Police will use nurseries and schools as vehicles for its activities, so evidence of their victims’ frailties can be freely exchanged among classmates and friends.  These zealots happily admit that their desire is to encourage a spirit of competition between parents and the children as to who is fittest, tallest, etc..

I can stand the patronising arrogance of the Nanny State, I can even forgive the enormous amount spent on the wasted education of those who can only find direction by becoming a part of it, but the least I might ask some of these people to do is B****Y WELL THINK!

Every time you reward success in a child you generate a black cloud of despondency amongst the nine-tenths who cannot win – will never win, and for all sorts of reasons.  By creating a god you generate a continuous string of sacrifices.  Worse, you encourage children to hang labels on each other at an even younger age, and children are very free, and very cruel, with labels.  Worst of all, you spark in those children who do not conform to your quasi-Arian image a downward spiral of diminishing self-esteem that will lead to depression, anxiety, anorexia, and social alienation.

And we all know the damage social alienation, labelling, and bullying can do, don’t we?  Especially if it becomes entangled with a knife or a gun?

Too extreme?  No.  Too easy.  Easy to start with an infant on a set of scales and build an adolescent with a grudge.

ImageMy question for this week:  who polishes David Cameron?

A lot of guys follow him around, and they are supposed to be security, but I’m prepared to bet that one of them is secreting a choice of chamois leathers and a spray can of Mr. Sheen.

Now I come to think of it, why let it rest there?  I mean, everyone acknowledges that the original Ed Milliband was made by Aardman (although rumors he is Wallace’s lovechild are probably unfounded) so someone must be there to touch up the plasticine, right?Image

Whatever we may think of their morality, or of their qualities as people, those who rise to the top in public life do work extremely hard.   Every waking minute must be time-managed; and in this news-hungry generation image management is equally vital.  So, with apologies for my cynicism, I refuse to believe that 7 a.m. at the Cameron’s bears any relation to breakfast time at my house. 

Upstairs?  Well, yes, you can picture some normality there:  wife Samantha telling Dave emphatically that if he must get up at this hour he can fix his own bloody tie, perhaps – but thus far and no further.   If you are due to meet the President of France at 9.00 o’clock an absence of underpants because they’re all in the wash could cause a national crisis, and as for the kids at breakfast….

Imagine the damage one exuberant spoonful of flying jam could do, or the under-confidence engendered by riding your bike commando through London Traffic, rabidly pursued by squadrons of paparazzi eager for the split seam that could end your political career?

No, somewhere behind the door at number 10 there are ‘people’ who ensure that sort of thing can’t happen.  I can imagine them waiting for their Prime Minister to emerge from his private accommodation with a shiny photograph in their pockets, ready to see the image perfected before he is allowed out of doors.

Why is this aspect of public life so important to us, the poor worker bees?  I suppose because at a stroke it invalidates the ‘just like us’ element of democratic leadership.  I recall at one time being told that Prince Charles has a personal valet who helps him to put on his trousers in the morning.  If true, presumably such a person must be in a position to check on the underpants situation at the same time.  But how personal can such an odd relationship get?  And to be so entwined in the lifestyle not to see it as odd – that is a far cry from the daily affairs of the people in the street.  

Lady Churchill once said of her husband that he never went shopping; that he would have had no notion how to conduct himself in a grocers.  Our current Chancellor of the Exchequer Gorgeous George Osborne is a member of a millionaire family and he, like most members of the current government were raised in the tradition of Eton and Oxbridge.  They grew up with the ‘fag’ system and nothing has really changed since.

This is the essential paradox of democracy:  that those who rule us are not, in essence, democrats.   They may say they are, they may lay claim to democratic principles, but they live according a much older code – that of feudalism. 

So spare a thought for the ‘fags’ – the people in the background who should unify us, yet somehow keep the separation intact – who do the unseen jobs.  The great unthanked.  They are untouched by the media, yet they make the Great and the Good much greater and hopefully quite a lot gooder.   

This is my quiet little round of applause for them, the silent ones.  For the man who plugged Richard Murdoch into the mains this morning, for the woman who does Nigella Lawson’s washing up, and the little chap who lurks inside the traffic lights in our town centre just so he can turn them to red every time I approach them. 

They also serve!