Lost Time and a long, personal note

I have, from time to time, suggested that the personal and gratuitous abuse of James Gordon Brown is wrong and unnecessary. Last year, I praised his efforts to erect 'firebreaks' to hold together the banking system until new, and comprehensive schemes could be put in place. Though I lost no opportunity to record here, for the few who read this blog and I suppose for myself, the disregard I had for the people around him, I always thought of him as deserving a break.

I gave up on his party.

Now, I'm very near to completely giving up on him.

I don't know the man, though I was once offered a job with his staff by one of his associates in his office when they were in opposition, which I suspect was never going to happen anyway. I'd have opened my mouth and they'd have pulled the trapdoor lever, not because of the accent--I can shift that all over the place, though less than I used to--but because of the views.

Class is practically immutable in Britain. I grew up in a variety of places--a steeltown, above the pubs my parents ran, with my grandfather--surrounded by working people. At critical times in the life of my family, the National Health Service saved us. I was educated in a Catholic comprehensive at the end of a period when education was worthwhile in this country, and was paid for by my local council when I went to Oxford. All of this, in a sense, I owed to a Labour Party that understood its roots in Christian socialism and in Labourist trade unions, and in the working class before it was morally liquidized. Labour used to contain many of the Irish Catholic people from whom I come.

Martin Kelly says that I didn't leave Labour, they left me. He is a good and highly perceptive man. But I'm not, selfishly comforted by the way a party I liked was taken over by halfwits, narcissists, the privileged mediocre network of nepotistic meritocracy and trammelled, illiterate minds who have steadily infiltrated any and every institution in this country.

Very soon, Labour will want votes. They will want you to forget about things. They will want you to participate in the pantomime of genuflection before liberal democracy. Then they will get back, whoever is elected, to interfering with your life.

The natural tendency of good people is to forget the past and to give people a chance. It is to give the benefit of the doubt. In Britain, a tribal country, it is also to weigh past associations and present alternatives.

Don't forget. Don't forget the promises about reducing crime and renewing society that have delivered unconcerned, untroubled prisoners, feral children, abortion on television, the manic destruction of churches, the closure of orphanages, stem cell research, the restriction of legal aid, a paucity of prisons and the coddling of Islamic fascists.

All of these things are linked by a contempt for the individual as a being and for any worth other than the material, or an ignorance of the social and spiritual foundations of any sense of community. Rights expand government and empower lawyers; liberties restrain them. Remember that.

Don't forget the boasts about ethical diplomacy that terror-bombed Serbs for the KLA, lied about the Iraq invasion, crashed into the Af-Pak wars, abandoned the armed services knowingly to faulty equipment when they had equipment at all and desperately enabled the people who stole the American republic to go about their business because of a cultural cringe.

Don't forget the money they poured towards Hamas. Don't forget all of this was predictable, right down to the American realisation of who their enemy was, and that it lived in Rawalpindi and Jeddah, and Washington, and that this country would be dragged along until they did because its leaders didn't or couldn't speak up. Don't forget how much money Mr Blair and others are now making from their behaviour.

Don't forget the promises of reform that delivered a now demented political and media class which exists to further itself and which lies and lies and lies to earn its market share and expense accounts. Don't forget the way government expanded jobs for its own voting base, and handed over responsibility to banks and institutions effectively outside of anyone's control, which then made ministers and politicians rich.

And look forward, too. This is a perfectly predictable depression we're in. The Bank of England realised it two years ago when they set their pensions up to be protected from it. They just didn't, or couldn't tell anyone else.

The energy crisis that will soon be upon this country, and the foolishness of belief in global warming will also soon be apparent. We could do things, and we are not doing them, again. Pensions are collapsed. And look at them--they are still lying where they understand anything has changed at all, still trying to frighten you, still trying to buy you off with worthless things.

The entire media and political class of this country is at fault. It is very easy to complain, and to delineate what they have done. I do so from a position of nearly complete irrelevance. We are in a world where globalisation has delivered the conditions of the French Revolution, and we now stand subject on the cusp to the idea that the rule of the enlightened, aided by the spontaneous order of the market might pull us through.

We're somewhere in the years between 1788 and 1790. The ground is shaking. A grotesque devastation of the lives and hopes of the unemployed and the soon to be unemployed is coming, and for many people personally will touch the levels of excrescence represented by the French Revolution. I only hope we, humanity, avoid a generalisation of the war that has already engulfed human beings up and down the arcs of instability and which spreads by the day.

There is still time. Look to how you can survive first of all. Think. Hold those you know and trust close. Keep credit cards or hold cash. Electronic machinery takes some time to clear payments from one and credit from a crashed bank is estimated at the end of the month, but available at the start. If you have no balance or a small one, that card will be handier than a debit card for the first few weeks of any emergency. Hold cash because you may need it, and looking at it will give you a sense of how much you have.

Assure yourself of where your food is, now, while there is some time to look for local supplies or to learn about gardening that may, if you don't live in an unsuitable area, ease your budget a little.

Think. Think about how you could support better public solutions, like cooperatives and credit unions and genuinely public ownership, all things these people hate. Understand that charities are an arm of the governing class and facilitate its regulations before you divert your politics away from voting.

Don't trust any of them but use your capacity to think to constantly ask anyone holding themselves out as a person of power and influence to explain exactly what they are doing. If they can't, argue but don't assault the person. Verbal and written violence and anger and hate are as self defeating and corrosive as the real things, ultimately. More so, sometimes.

Sooner or later, some bigger political break will come. A campaign here, a party there. Look after yourself and your own until then. Many things are about to be broken.

Think. Liars are scared of honesty. For them, it is cognitive dissonance, madness. They will not understand. What can they do that they haven't done? They're now trying to tell you suicide, medicalised murder is a medical right because they care only for their own sensibilities, and that killing partially born babies is ok. Both those things are tragedies, and have happened to friends of mine, and people I know. Some of them I love. To be honest is to tell them I love and understand, but never to try and tell them a wrong thing is right, if they should ever ask.

Think, and above all, keep your integrity. You cannot have lost it completely, and it can be rebuilt. You are free. Think, and do not lie.

I don't believe good actions are necessarily or inevitably rewarded in a fallen world. I understand the idea of necessary and lesser evils. I used to think bad behaviour was eventually punished, even if only behind the eyes of the bad, eventually. Now though, I know the benefit of patience, and of the idea that we can only be responsible for ourselves and for our own integrity.

These are my thoughts on the state James Gordon Brown is desperate to defend by attempting to get the world to come to London and to delude themselves into thinking that the world economy can simply be asserted into health. I think that, if he had been strong enough, the course he wanted to set from last year might have carried us through; I think that he did prevent an immediate collapse last autumn. But I don't think that his actions subsequently have proved anything like adequate, and though I don't think anyone could have done better, I think that it is time to head towards the door.

This global market he has given himself to, and the job he has sought all his life, and the husk of a party that rides like a wolfpack around him, have betrayed him.

UPDATE: I have amended this post since I published it, and will add links later. My main change came because I feel sorry for Brown, despite everything.


Anonymous said…
Sorry Martin, but I've always thought that Gordon Brown was a charmless man who had no mandate to lead the country and no courage to prove me wrong. He lacks all the qualities we look for in a leader and the only way he could stay in that position for any length of time is to avoid asking the electorate.I don't believe he would have ever got the endorsement of the people.It's inevitably going to be a walkover for David Cameron next election, and the suggestion that anyone is going to be persuaded to vote labour (except the diehards) is
All those wrongs in society which you cite do not constitute a coherent list..for instance, bracketting stem-cell research with abortion on tv. I think that recent development means that it will no longer be necessary to destroy a foetus to produce these cells. If I was an Islamic fascist in the UK I would feel very threatened indeed.I don't think they're coddled at all..and there is such hatred and suspicion between different races and religions that is further whipped up by people who should know better.
I hope you're wrong about the currency situation and the state of the banks. If all we can do is keep money in cash and use a credit card for purchases at the beginning of the month then it's game over really. What is the point? I suppose you might delay the inevitable for a few weeks.

I'm not comfortable with alarmism because although it may spring from truth it results in despair. We have to stay hopeful and calm. Of course I'm in Australia where the government is trying to persuade us that we can emerge almost unscathed from this mess.My two sons who live and work here are being enticed into property ownership by huge government grants. They're close to getting sucked in. Meantime, my husband who still works for a UK company from our house in Sydney is paid much less now than he was when we arrived here two years ago due to the dwindling pound. We still have a foot in both camps and hope for a good outcome for everyone.
Love Mary

By the way, what do you mean by "destrution of churches"?
Anonymous said…
Martin, this is a peace offering . My 16 year old daughter has just shown me how to send this ..it should work. I asked her to dredge this up because I woke up some months ago to this song. (long before English X factor).I found it very moving.An extraordinary performance at 8'clock in the morning,
Martin Meenagh said…
I think, first of all, that you were right about Gordon Brown and I was wrong.

Secondly, and generally, I trust your bona fides completely. So I'm glad of any comment you make.

I didn't put links into the post because it was late; they might illustrate any points I made.

I think a blog is a kind of diary. I am not in despair, but am really worried about things 'behind my eyes' as it were; I am very glad of people who comment and say 'well, hang on' or so on.

Labour still polls at around thirty per cent. Because of an urban bias in the way constituencies are drawn up, (which was different in the eighties, and benefited the Tories) Conservatives need a consistent six-to eight point lead to get a one-seat majority, but Labour is almost guaranteed around 200 seats whatever it does. The Tories also have the Liberal Democrats eating their vote in marginal constituencies. They are not going to have a walkover, even if they won the national vote; and anyway, they are exactly the same people, mostly, with the same policies, as the rest of the political-media class.

The wrongs I cite are only coherent if one considers the view of life they create. Stanley Baldwin--not someone I admired--once said he didn't see many different things so much as how multi-faceted the truth was. I agree with you that stem cells are not 'the cutting edge' as it were. clearly. The point is that they were used to justify prejudice dressed up as science.

The last Islamist to be convicted of a serious big bombing attempt, I think I am right in saying, was a white convert. I don't think its a race issue, though I notice how many first-generation British of Pakistani descent are effectively fighting for the taliban, and how Islamist spokespeople constantly try and racialise the issue. islam is a global religion with a long history and a pool of angry young men with no jobs to draw from. It is coherent, it is strong, and secularists don't understand it or worse, embrace Islamists in the belief that they can be moderated. As for the point about terrorists--I hope everyone contemplating terror is very worried indeed, though I also hope terror isn't used to justify burning more of our liberties.

I hope for a good outcome too, but I worry, just on the basis of the facts. I wish your two sons the best, and your husband, and yourself, and would like nothing more than to be proved wrong

Martin Meenagh said…
Thank you very much for the song, I'll put it on the blog.

By the way, by 'destruction of churches', I meant the relentless campaign by the Secretary for Culture and Sport to make Anglican churches 'useful and relevant. he wanted them to become gyms, and now post offices. That'll help shut down the real post offices and move more money to whichever foreign mate they sell the postie's pensions to.

No history, no culture, and the ugly spectre of the church of England being treated like a beaten wife and responding in the same cowed manner. I'm not, of course a member of that ecclesial community--but why do they put up with it?
Anonymous said…
They put up with it because,
in the main ,Anglican parishes are social clubs, middle class gatherings with almost no real belief. As a good friend of mine once said.. I went to a Catholic service and it was so unfriendly. No-one was interested in me and there was no coffee afterwards. The reason she was attending was because her son was to marry a Catholic. She wasn't happy. Also she does not like Irish people who she thinks are smelly people who drink on street corners. When I remind her that my father was Irish
she is embarrassed, but not for long.As she says, all your red-headed boys are clever and your red-headed girl is a super-model.That's ok then.
Martin Meenagh said…
I do not drink on street corners but there has been the odd legal or academic party where I ended up drunk on the same. Still, it's big and its clever and alcohol (which I haven't had since lent began) solves all problems. It is a solution to everything. That's my message for today.

And I don't like coffee. Maybe you just went to a church that didn't do social things though? Several of the churches I've been to, but not all, do do tea and coffee after the service, but it depends on the priest and the clientele, and oddly enough doesn't correspond to the class or ethnic mix (which is usually quite great) of the congregation. I suspect these things become traditions just because someone starts them, but are not expected.
Merseymike said…
I think what you really want is another country....perhaps we all do, but I don't think that your ideal is likely to become a reality in the UK. Nor mine for that matter....

Brown is no worse than the likely alternatives, and perhaps one of the problems is the expectation that individuals are likely, by themselves, to make a major difference.

I think your nostalgia for a fairly mono-cultural working-class Britain is understandable, although I do not share it, but I think it has gone and will never return. Sources of identity and allegiance are now far more complex.

I also welcome the death of 'spirituality' and trust its decline will accelerate. The "islamo-fascists" you decry have far more in common with a catholic conservative such as yourself than with secular liberals.
Martin Meenagh said…
It'll embarass you to read it, but I may be in agreement with you, Mike. The working class I grew up in, by the way, was not monocultural by a long shot; Corby workers were drawn from Scotland, ireland, Eastern and Southern Europe and there were not a few gays, people of all religions and none, and very many division within the group. There were not many english middle-class people, nor that many asian or african faces--in fact, almost none.

I had a sikh friend when I was a boy, and we rode our cycles pretending to be Californian motorcyle cops together, and when we moved and ran pubs I remember a black lady we had as a barmaid in Kettering; she took me to see the Empire Strikes Back once.

We shouldn't think ourselves more complicated. What we are is more lied to, more indebted, and more lacking in the power to change things or in leaders in whom we can trust, though that may be because we now know more of what they are like.

I was born here. Like many, I would leave if I could, and have two passports, which, incidentally, means that I can see whats going on with people of Pakistani descent who feel alien and spurned at the same time; to feel spurned is a quality of wanting to belong.

Where would you go? I'm tempted to think of some cliche like San Francisco or Hamburg or Berlin given your urban politics and identity, but that would be presumptuous. I think I belong somewhere between New York and Donegal, although rekyavik is shut.

I'd correct you on one detail. Islamo-fascists would have had a good deal in common with catholic conservatives until Vatican II. My church formally tried to recognise antisemitism as a sickness and to reconcile itself to human freedom. They don't, and they don't have mediating structures that would allow that. It may well be that the world is left to us and them, and that liberals will relativise and capitalise themselves out of existence, leaving only a husk of rights; but civic society in which we can be free to be right or wrong may well lose out in that process, and I don't, as a free man, like that idea very much at all.

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