Who knew there were so many fascists en France? Or in most western ‘democracies’ it would seem. Clearly we have failed to educate large swathes of the post WW2 generation. Why else would the Nazi playbook of demonising minorities, nationalism and lies-as-truth still be working 70 years after the biggest disaster in history? More worryingly where are the voices of wisdom from charismatic leaders rebutting all this rubbish?
Archive for the ‘Hell in a handcart’ Category
It all started quite promisingly with ‘Grand Designs’. An occasional fix of outlandish property porn fronted by the urbane Kevin; surely one of the twenty first century’s most influential figures when it comes to design. A whole generation now aspire to underfloor heating and sheep’s wool loft insulation thanks to our Kev.
Kevin ain’t getting any younger though. His boyish locks, luxuriant in the early shows, have gradually greyed and shrunk. As his bank balance has increased, his teeth have gotten more perfect and his casual jackets more designery. He’s become more shiny, self-assured and, I believe, a tad complacent in that “I’m at the top of my game” way which eventually affects the Star Host. [ Cf Ross, Wogan, Titchmarsh etc, etc yawn ]. Kevin may now, at least partly, believe his own publicity and it is the programme commissioners who are to blame.
There is a whole generation of TV People who, it would seem, have all done the “How to Build on Success” module as part of their Media Studies degree. The secret to building the ratings is basically ‘more of the same’. If that slick quiz with the dramatic lighting effects and pulsing synthesiser soundtrack pulls in the punters primetime, make another version! [ Only much cheaper and shove it on every day at teatime when you've got a captive audience of overstimulated schoolkids and semi-comatose pensioners ]. “That Antiques Roadshow has been doing well for fifty years. I know, let’s make a cheaper version for the unwashed masses. They can flog all the old tat they would’ve taken to the boot sale and we can get that nice Scottish lady that everyone loves to coo over everything.” “That Simon Cowell is on to something, let’s make a talent show with a twist! How about punk pensioners / garage grandads or hip hop hooray henrys? We need to workshop this in the thought pod on the sixth floor – bring your ipad Tristan.”
Gradually, the clone TV sausage machine has filled the schedules with different versions of the same thing. The presenters change, the music is tweaked, the budget heads ever southwards but it’s basically the same idea.
So now it’s not just Kevin. It’s Caroline and Piers swanning around the globe in search of ever more iconic houses. “Yes, we’ve found a mountaintop mansion made from marble helicoptered in during a snowstorm!” It’s George – ( he’s an ‘Arkytec’ you know ) – he sheds a tear as you re-tell the story of your war wound / emotional loss / chronic constipation that lead you to buy this pile of rubble and mortgage your spleen to do it up. How about Grand Designs in half an hour? We can get that scouse bird off Brookside to pritt stick the B&Q wallpaper onto the ensuite during the commercials. Film it fast and no-one will see it fall off when we get the hell out by teatime. And so it goes on, more property shows. Always ‘Will they do it in time?’, ‘The doubtful host’, ‘The Reveal’, ‘How much is it worth’? Zzzzzzz.
Kevin may be on the downslope. He’s no doubt, paying an army of pre-Brexit Eurobuilders to construct his porcelain retirement complex on a sunny hillside somewhere. He may have peaked. That mansion made of mud a few series back was big enough to be seen from space without magnification. Grand Designs has spawned many many progeny.
Least attractive of these is “Building the Dream”. A half-baked concept about half-baked houses. The owners pretend that they haven’t already ordered the avocado shower tray and Diamonique pedal bin. They call in ‘Architectural Designer’ Charlie to ‘advise’ on how to make their dream home even more dreamy. Charlie rocks up wearing an anorak and looking smug. They all sit round the table in their caravan (they spent the entire ice age there you know) and Charlie doodles a few ideas on their expensive CAD drawings with his Pentel. The rest of the show is a gradual revelation that they’ve ignored everything Charlie suggested and stayed true to their original snot green vision. Charlie returns, even smugger than before and pretends not to be bothered. He does a little Kevin-style homily at the end (though never as sanctimoniously as RevKev) and then walks off to collect his fee and do a closing smugshot. Meanwhile the owners fester in their mucous mansion looking equally smug. Everybody’s happy and the viewers hit ebay for bargain bogey shower trays.
Aside from the slight international panic that we are at the start of The End Times – there is possibly one thing, or maybe two things which somehow seem a bit more visceral.
First. America has looked into its darkest, most unpleasant, most revolting corner. It has picked up that mouldy breadroll from the split rubbish bag and it has eaten it quietly, hoping that passers-by will understand that it is really very hungry and has nowhere else to turn. Yes, it’s digusting, yes they’re a bit ashamed, yes, they did notice that dog splash the bag a few minutes earlier. BUT THEY DON”T CARE!
They need that bread. It’ll make them sick, but it’ll fill the gnawing hunger for a while and they can hope for something better down the line.
Second. The realisation that ultimately it really does appear to be about money and if you have money you can be as revolting as you like and you still get to walk into that power office and sit there lording it, knowing that you have played as dirty as you can and you have won. Forget nobility, forget public service, forget altruism, forget being nice. It’s about being greedy, ruthless and as nasty as you like.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
There appears to be one in our country just now when it comes to leadership. A lame duck Prime Minister, invisible ministers busy plotting in back rooms and an opposition in the final death throes after a twenty year meltdown. Enter fascist windbags. Loudly proclaiming “how it’s going to be”. Yes, we’ll be repatriating them. “We’ll have to switch to private health insurance”. “Our new PM will be from the ‘Leave’ camp”.
Our media, when it is not mind-warping the ‘hardworking families’ of Daily Scum Land into ever more fervent racist adventurism – is blithely redefining politicians into ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ parties. Giving large amounts of air time to said fascist windbags legitimises them in the minds of the ‘hardworking families’; they become the de facto leaders and opinion formers.
The vacuum of values, beliefs and leadership will be filled somehow.
If we don’t want it to suck, we need to start finding leaders who can actually think and, er, lead.
I’m heartily sick of listening to the endless bleating of Daily Mail-reading crypto-racist middle-aged / old gits. They’ve suddenly been reanimated from their ITV-induced comas, taken a break from twitching their nets and sucking their Werthers Orginals. They’re everywhere. Dripping their ever so rational, ever so ‘patriotic’, ever so normal, common-sense, hardworking, home-grown recipe for national happiness into our collective lugholes. “We’re full up” [ © Mr Blobby's sperm donor ]. “We’ve got to get control of of our borders.” [ © BoJo - a man who can't even get control of his waistline ]. “It’s gone too far” et bloody cetera, blah bloody blah. Non bloody stop.
Here’s my handy checklist.
1. You grew up in the 1950s when the only black people you saw were on the back of marmalade jars or in questionable films.
2. You think Britain’s finest hour was winning The War.
3. You’ve managed to retire on a full occupational pension.
4. You think Nigel Farage talks sense.
5. You admire Boris Johnson.
6. You think we need to stop immigration into the UK.
7. You will be dead in 43 years.
If you scored ‘yes’ on most of the above:
You have lived through a period of unprecedented prosperity – much of it during Britain’s 43 years of EU membership and during constant immigration. This prosperity was not an accident.
Those who fought in Word War 2 did so ostensibly in the interests of freedom and against fascism. They did not fight it so that you could repeat the demonisation of racial groups 70 years later or feather your own nest at the expense of the rest of humanity.
Enjoy your pension – sure you’ve ‘earned it’; as have the rest of us who are younger than you – we won’t get what you’ve got though. Thanks for that. Count your blessings.
Farage and Johnson are political opportunists – they care only about Farage and Johnson. They are deluded, they will come unglued like all politicians do. They will likely be dead in 43 years.
Think, for once, of those who will come after you. Those who will be here in 43 years time. They deserve to live in a stable, united world where nations co-exist in peace. Where people, no matter what their background, can prosper. This will not come about through further division, building walls, shutting people out and demonising racial groups; this is what happened in the country that lost ‘The War’ – remember?
In 43 years you may not be here; will your legacy be division and fear?