East02 July 2016
Stepping backwards in time around 35 years, to another period of desperate uncertainty, the time of strikes and industrial discord, I’m reminded of a computer game I played a lot. ‘The Hobbit’.
Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be looking back to such events but these aren’t normal times, not by a long way.
Now, the point about adventures is not everyone is cut out for adventures. Just like the Hobbits, some of us British thought it’d be a great idea to venture out into the world beyond the safety of The Shire. It sounds a noble thing to do, to assemble a band of like-minded travellers, none particularly well-suited to the unknown but all SURE it will go well.
Deep down, they know the reality is likely to disappoint, to scare, but their friends carry them along. Friends won’t let friends down, there’s nothing more certain than that.
East. East was a direction one had to take to progress, but a direction leading one deeper into darker situations. Trolls, Goblins and Wargs - wolf-like creatures, a giant spider, a dragon, and even scarier creatures, yeah, the stuff of legend.
Rest easy though, there’s a happy ending - there were enough allies available during the journey to make a difference to the eventual outcome. Read the book, read it to your children. Read it before the books are burned.* We British went east, east into Europe, our tale doesn’t look likely to end well…
Lemmings. I’ve seen more than enough references to lemmings in cartoons and popular media, but the cartoonists got it wrong. Understandable, lemmings are more in tune with the British psyche, being at least identifiably European. They’re not but that’s a minor detail.
Actually, lemmings running off a cliff was a clever stunt by Disney, a stunt to perpetuate a legend rather than to put one to rest. Disney chucked hundreds of lemmings over a cliff. And filmed it. Yay, Disney.
Now, we aren’t lemmings, lemmings aren’t us. We’re buffalo.
“Deep blood kettle”: a loose translation of the Blackfoot tribe’s word for a buffalo jump cliff. Not so much a cliff for buffalo to jump off but one off which a herd was forced to fall, either killing the animals outright or incapacitating them until they could be killed by the native Americans. The principle was simple: panic a few at the back, drive them in the right direction, those at the front won’t stand a chance, pushed along by the sheer weight of numbers behind.
Sustainability though was, I believe, the key here. It’d be utterly pointless for the tribe to kill off an entire herd. What happens next year? And the next? Starvation or the necessity to become nomadic? A stark choice.
“United Europe has been a curse.” “We’ve become complacent, reliant upon other people to make decisions for us.” “Those decisions were never in our best interests, especially the laws to enhance personal wellbeing and safety.” “Europe will decline and drag all with it.” “Those nasty European bureaucrats!” Yeah…
Common complaints by people who who haven’t studied Europe as deeply as I have. For the last 6 weeks. Off-and-on. Makes me an expert. Yeah. Ok, so I’ve spent a little more than that, but…
Knowing that no-one likes experts or facts anymore fills me with dread. I’ve noticed my attention span diminished over the years as my recreational use of the Internet increased; more precisely my ability to place events in a time-related context. Expecting others to look back to a time before they became self-aware is very selfish of me.
Deep down I know that it’s pointless to attempt to educate people that the worst is NOT over; that though the pound has indeed rebounded against the Dollar (and the Euro), and though the FTSE 100 has indeed stabilised, and though…
Oh, what’s the use? Farage and Boris and Gove jointly pulled the sword out of the stone already.
Now what? Now the sword is out, what can we do with it? Is it shiny and radiant and pure and does it sing of greatness and…
King-making is out. Our society doesn’t work like that any more.
Eye-for-eye justice systems, etc. all gone, consigned to a time in history when things were just simpler, more predictable.
Yes, the Black Death focused the nation’s collective mind, likely brought along social and economic change in a way nothing previously had. And the industrial revolution, forever changing society from self-sufficiency to a reliance on others… but conflict remained.
Battles with other belligerent, territorial, nations - predictable, understandable. Let’s see those fingers lads!
Ahhh… maybe I should let things take their natural course and stop worrying. I am but one man. Writing to my MP brought zero hope.
Let’s see what we have. Take stock.
Long ago in a land far-away lived a middle-aged man. He gambled with his country’s future. He lost. Not the end of the tale, nor much of an auspicious beginning.
#spellcheckaracist: Is it worth it?