What would it be like to write a blog post on steroids? Well – I’ve decided to give it a try. And this is it. (So don’t say you haven’t been warned…)
I’m just come back from my fifth chemo session, in the van at Stowmarket. Where I was discussing with the delightful lady mentioned in my earlier post how a diagnosis of terminal cancer has changed our attitudes to life. And in particular to speaking the truth – however uncomfortable others may find it.
Once home, I found myself with the usual side-effect of a chemo session. Namely unsteady eyeballs, making it difficult to read. Plus, of course, the effect of a significant dose of steroids, filling me with unnatural energy. So I searched out Simon Schama’s new series ‘The History of Now‘ on iPlayer. And found him expressing exactly the same view as my chemo van companion. And apparently on steroids…
Of course, Schama is an old man. (As, apparently, am I. Not that I feel like one.) He’s older than me, though, born in 1945 to the soundtrack of the V2 attacks on London. But I share his anger and contempt for the loathsome return of autocracy masquerading as a champion of ‘freedom’. Especially when that freedom becomes limited to ‘our kind of people’. And therefore doesn’t include ‘foreigners’ and immigrants (of pretty much any description). And most especially doesn’t include refugees.
They, in the eyes of the autocrats, are ‘invaders’, ‘swarms’, ‘illegal migrants’ who can have, and should have, no place in our ‘free’ society. Where to me, they’re just people. People like any other people, anywhere. And in this case – all too often – people displaced, through no fault of their own, from everything they knew and held dear.
By coincidence I began my day by reading an article by an American writer looking from across the pond at the collapse of British society. (In his view, that is.) He points out – trenchantly – that pretty much the only thing that can save the UK from complete collapse is immigration. Although I did feel he pushed his case too far,
Even so, I couldn’t help agreeing with most of his observations, though I’m hoping (probably against hope) we don’t become the failed state he predicts. Ever since the Conservatives came into power in 2010 I’ve railed – often very publicly – against their ever more insane right-wing policies. Policies that have led us towards our current catastrophe – the direct result of taking them to their most ludicrous extreme. (Congratulations, Ms Truss, for doing more damage to my once-beloved country in three weeks than your predecessors achieved in twelve years…)
I’m angry about austerity. (It wasn’t the right choice, and it wasn’t necessary.) I’m angry about the referendum. (Mismanaged by all concerned, with atrocious campaigns on both sides. Then used by the despicable Boris Johnson for his own self-serving agenda. And damn the consequences to the country.) And I’m incandescently angry about the Brexit ‘settlement’ (as poor Rosemary will willingly attest). That act of damnable, stupid, and irreparable self-harm has done at least as much as Covid and the energy crisis to destroy our economy. And it has divided our society into two mutually hostile armed camps, ripe for exploitation – by the autocrats.
I’m praying to God that – thanks to the lunacy of Ms Truss – their time may finally have come. But that will be up to the next generation. And I can only pray that my amazing nieces and nephews get the opportunity to put our poor country – and our planet – back on track. Preferably one that destroys autocracy, champions real freedom, and understands that only by recognising our common humanity, on the planet we all share, can we hope to escape the collapse of our global civilisation.