There’s Nothing New Here. Just Another Nation in Decline. (This time it is The UK in Brexit)

I am somewhat honoured that Keith of ( musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com  ) has asked me to write this, following a response to a question he raised on Jill’s ( jilldennison.com ) blog

I would warn you, there will be no quotes, statistics or links, these by their very nature are selective and can be turned around by oppositions, often getting side-lined in arguments over the character of the provider of the quotes, statistics or links. This is an essay, or if you like a polemic. This is based on the readings of the Histories of Humanity and all their various accompanying  follies and tragedies. This is about something very old, on this occasion making its appearance in Brexit Britain.

Although shadowed by the world-wide pandemic, this lesser event will still have its ramifications even if many of the world’s population can be forgiven for barely noticing it; after all, what will it matter to someone living in a nation a few time zones away and more concerned with their own day to day struggles? Some in the UK so wrapped up in their myths and dreams would have you believe the entire planet will shake as the UK rises from some European induced torpor calling on spirits of Churchill, Thatcher, Drake and Arthur (King) to inspire our current political and economic leadership to gather the people together in a glorious endeavour bringing in the proverbial New Golden Age. And this will be our True Finest Hour. If you examine the headlines in the right-wing tabloid press and the comments of their readerships or have the misfortune to run into them on FaceBook you will see I am somewhat understating the rhetoric.

Each nation or community which would be a nation or movement has its own baggage of legends, myths and massaged history mixed into a heady brew which offers in a far more glorious vision than it deserves. Never look too deeply into your people’s past unless you are of thick skin, detached or objective for you will not be comfy. Many in the UK in 2015 to 2016 feasted too deeply of the Empire, Victors in WWI & WWII mythos rich stew without reading the warnings on the various contents’ packets, and to keep their sacred beliefs firm still partake.   

And whenever a collection of folk take the step towards independence or dominance you can be certain there will be the taint of outright or implied discrimination, for the collection of folk will have convinced themselves that all ills, and the end of the none-existent “Good Old Days” are down to interlopers and non-believers. So never mind the economic and legalistic arguments surrounding Brexit, Race and Prejudices played a major part in many a voter’s decisions. One of the two truths folk do not like to mention. The other being on the Left that without Corbyn’s lukewarm unenthusiastic campaign or the section which believed the EU was an adjunct of the multi-nationals the Right might never have won the referendum and subsequent 2019 General Election. Struggles are not just won by one side’s courage or tactical superiority; they require a degree of failure within the opponents’ ranks.

So here in the second decade of the 21st century  The UK is positioned. A collection of islands without their own independent mercantile fleets or major ship building trades. Other types of industries which for many years have been owned by overseas groups and now without the mutual protection of the EU. Whereas there are a large number of small ventures making herculean efforts, these are now all vulnerable to the unpredictable and savage storms of international climates of trade and politics along with another layer of avoidable paperwork.  Meanwhile the UK places some of its faith in a leisure industry which waits for Covid to be supressed and hopefully the tourists to return. And forgetting the financial hub currently residing in London can in these cyber days be moved with relatively little effort. The balm to soothe these worries is that the UK can make new vibrant and fresh deals with other nations outside of the EU; however the problem is these ‘Other Nations’ looking to make deals are by their natures on the rise or with a very strong base whereas the UK has been in a steady decline of nationally based infrastructure, services and industries since WWII, thus these Isles are negotiating from the lesser position with the give and take going in the other direction. It is hard not to view us as the wilful self-absorbed member of the family who has blustered out of the home to seek life on their own believing their ‘smarts’, determination and cherished fantasy masquerading as a plan will see them through. This is the character who ends up on the streets, a battered minor hustling supplicant desperate that the next day will bring ‘the break’ while looked down upon by the major players.

There is another facet, that is the strength of the nation as displayed in its military prowess. In some this is simply the self-defence capacity; in some it is the ability to operate outside of the borders. Questions are being asked of that capacity, and at a time where there is an undercurrent in the USA of questions as to the future of NATO and Russia’s the inevitable historical draw to surround herself with client states. Examples of the never ending tides of human action and reaction in the political world, a dance as old as communities.

And herein lies the evidence lain bear by Histories. Nations and Empires rise and fall the names, locations and components change but the tectonic that is Human activity continues. Thus worn out by a century’s effort and the shedding of a role too heavy to bear do these Isles suffer their turn in this cycle. The sensible, rational long term approach would have been to hunker down, regroup and reform within the security and stability of a Union. This is not the Human way, we must believe in our legends and our folk myths, we must live them, we must be seen to be independent with all the angry deluded stance of the someone Lear-like living their past glories, denuded now of past abilities  observed by predators looking on to take away the last vestiges of independence, dress that someone in their own cloth and have them dance to their own tune, for their profit. Look into Histories and read the runes, observe that Rise and Fall over and over again.

There is a large swath of the population who have seen the message and are not turned by the populist press, the self-important financially secure commentators and their political relatives. Sadly these have divided themselves into fractious groups busy blaming each other for the 2019 General Election debacle which allowed a previously nationally indulged self-serving jester to become Prime Minister, now having to grow up, fast. While they are reduced to self-aggrandisement, anger and bitterness on Social Media. Whether there will be a steady movement by the national groups of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland away from England and into some connection with The EU remains to be seen. It could be that the old Islands’ story of  infighting and opportunist accommodations with whoever holds Westminster will be played out again and all will once more bow before The Centre; nothing new there, despite what the Nationalists would have you believe. There again delusion and desperation have their own tectonic and a fragmentation with a nominal centre could arise. A mini-version of the Holy Roman Empire, nodding to someone, a nominal head yet with each region going its own way. And of course the fate others have suffered so often; Client state, something which happens in so many ways often without folk noticing. Or battered and ragged knocking on Brussel’s door the prodigal state returns, only this time there will not be one loving father with a fatted calf; there will be a clutch of judgemental siblings. 

The permutations and variables beckon with a skeletal finger as we stumble out into the storm, eyes closed and muttering invocations from a false religion.

One last salutary note. By all mean shake your head sadly at these Isles’ ill-considered venture. However do not walk away feeling secure. At some stage these tectonics will reach you. Be sure you are prepared for the shock and have a plan to prevail. For we have still not evolved beyond those first communities of villages and small towns looking to survive or dominate.    

Seasonal Reflections

2020.

Pandemic

Elections.

Wars.

In the wake of the year’s news, which is uniquely still current Christmas Songs can be more of a minefield than usual. I mean, be fair if you can get out and have the money to conduct a ‘Christmas Shop’ of one sort or another are you truly convinced in 2020 ‘It’s That Most Wonderful Time of The Year’?

Back in the turn of the millennium I was still a UK Civil Servant working in a section of the Benefits System called ‘The Job Centre’. It was essentially a place where unemployed went to seek work and claim their Unemployment Benefit. Some klutzs, it’s the only way to describe the decision makers far removed from the realities of looking for work thought it would be a splendid idea to have music playing. Pop music happy, bouncy, pop music. In a place where the majority of callers are unhappy, stripped of dignity and worried about money trying to navigate a system that even the staff didn’t fully understand??? (Explicit words). Now if that was not bad enough the same bunch of socially comfortable and well paid folk decided there would be a Christmas series to play over December…..and amongst all the Yo-ho-hos, Santas, Log Fires, Driving Home (will you keep you fffff-lipping eyes on the road man!) what did we get?????? ‘Simply Having a Wunnderfful Christmas!’ (Even more bad words) being played in a Job Centre!!….Give me strength!…The number of times I wanted to hunt down the machine in our office playing that and tear the tape out (yep tape) for the sake of the public.

Anyway, that out of my system, you get the general idea. In my opinion Christmas Songs of all sorts should only be played at locations where those who agree they want them can listen and enjoy, or be thoughtful.

So before everyone decides ‘Hullo, this guy has a major ‘Huff’ about Christmas and is doing a fayre impression of The Grinch, or Scrooge pre-dreams’ I’ll move onto the ‘thoughtful’ part.

Below is a carol ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ sung in a traditional way, with lyrics displayed. I chose this because……wait, let me carry on after you’ve heard it

Hope it reached you at some level, because although Christian (Catholic- not that it matters except personally) I feel there is a universality about this one. Let me explain to all folk of whatever belief system (or none) of whatever circumstances, situations and outlooks.

Firstly the tune and the words are in truth sombre and restrained, there is no jolliness here, no urge for you to get up and dance about the place. This is an anthem if you like of a promise (dangerous word I know) of better times. Yes you can focus in on the narrow interpretation of the return of Jesus Christ and the Christian perspective of hope written therein and the joy that hope brings.

Or

Return to the concept of the universality, and consider this song from there.

Firstly although a hopeful offering being sombre and reflective you could not say it is a ‘Jolly’ song, it does not call upon you to exude a happiness you might not really feel like exuding. It is simply, and here’s the word again HOPE.

Secondly the tune and the words are reflective, asking the listener to consider to be grateful for that HOPE.

Thus I ask you to consider joining with me, no matter what your faith or no faith might be, Adapt this message to your own perspectives, even write your own words if you want I wouldn’t be offended (as long as you didn’t assail my beliefs with parodies; don’t do that it’s not nice and you wouldn’t like my sardonic dismissive reply). Turn this around if you will to your own message of HOPE.

And I ask you to consider to be grateful that we have access to computers and we have the time to consider such matters and we are not out somewhere in some wreck of a country, scrabbling for survival and quite forgotten by most of the world. And think in the new year what you might be able to do, even in the smallest way to help someone somewhere.

Rejoice then in sombre and reflective ways.

And HOPE, never give up on HOPE

To You and those close to you I wish you a peaceful, calmly uneventful, contented (for the moment) time; you might not have it now, you might not want it now, you might wish for it later. Whenever, wherever I wish it to you.

(My apologies to fellow Catholics who may not agree with my Relativism. You know how it goes Four Catholics, Five Different Ways of Worship and Belief) .

Inspiration at this Time of Woe and Challenge

Arrived on my Face Book ‘Home’ page.

Message accompanying:

‘This song is from Italy’s most famous band in the 70’s. They have donated the copyrights to Bergamo Hospital. Every click on the video means a gift, because YouTube pays the owner of those copyrights per click. In Bergamo hospital, 800 people died yesterday alone. So share this video as much as possible.’

 

 

Virus Post. Walls down. Emotions on Display.

OK. It has arrived THE PANDEMIC, the one The Medical Community knew would happen-Fact.

Sour observations: The one survivalists have been just praying to happen.The one you read about in SF/Dystopian Fiction but never thought would happen in your lifetimes and now those books don’t seem quite so ‘entertaining’ do they?

Personal Commentary (No self-pity. No ‘Oh that this too, too solid flesh would melt’ soliloquy). Just facts, brief. Like about 50% of the population in affluent West, our Lives have their buckets of problems. For many reasons we can’t get to see our three children and five grandchildren- no personal rifts just those ‘Circumstances’ that dog many a life. We were planning to visit our son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons- Pandemic arrives. How many other folk have seen plans pulled down I would not like to say.

We have health issues of one sort or another which limit our getting out as a couple to ‘go places’, ‘do things’. Pandemic puts the lid on the few opportunities. Life wasn’t much fun before, now? Do the allegorical maths. So us and a few tens of millions around the world. Didn’t need this, but we got it. It happens folks, it happens. Compare this to what is happening in Syria, Yemen or too a host of minority communities around the world and what’s happening to you, me, us in The West…..Just a scratch…At present almost a walk in the park. Of course it could get worse.

My Own strategy

So what do I do? Try and adapt, obviously.

But what else?

Write, of course.

In this we are fortunate. My wife writes poetry, is in contact with other poets, gets work published, gets good feedback and has a collection she sells privately. I am so proud of her and every time she gets a poem published I am so damn happy. Gives me the fuel to carry on.

Me?

Well, to summarise….. there’s R J Llewellyn on Kindle. Of late I’ve been working away on a fantasy series, self-published (still with those typos)

Precipice Dominion series

Y’know what, folks? Here I am stepping out of my normal British character here, but overall, typos and syntax aside I-am-so-very-pleased with these…There I said it! The characters are alive (so much so they nag me all the time) and the plot is chaotic as it was meant to be. (If you read some military history you will get to appreciate wars are won on the basis of the other side making more mistakes than yours- there are no perfect plans, no villain is always ahead of the game until the last few improbable chapters)

Vol III was having a re-write for typos, continuity etc, when I thought

‘Heck (or words to that effect) we can do better than this’

Learning to Live with ‘The First Draft’ and its Consequences.

And now it’s undergoing a whole re-work. This will be finished, virus or not. I will have my Three Volume Series (was supposed to be four but reflection suggested the narrative and plot would be getting thin in Vol IV and a lot of repetition would take place–too slow). I have an upbeat ending, because I like positive endings, it is a quirkly good one….There I said it (again). Three Volumes completed, I will be content, pleased, at rest.

Now this is how I personally tackle a Life-Threatening, Life-Changing  Pandemic. This is my way of minimising the effects.

I-WILL-WRITE.

I WILL BELIEVE IN MY WRITING

Let this be your pledge to yourself in these uncertain times

Seriously folks… The Joys of Writing

 

 

PS. Explanation. Some regular readers might by wondering about the amount of unusual and aggressive affirmation regrading my personal opinion on my own writing. This is due to a severe case of Full Metal Jacket haranguing at me by one of my characters Arketre Beritt, a solider, of an elite unit. If you are new to writing be prepared when the characters take over, it happens)