Grist to the Mill

Well, here we go again. I would’ve liked to open this one simply by expressing my wishes that you all had a wholesome holiday and a Happy New Years celebration. I’d like to, but I can’t. You see, I’m painfully aware that there are many many hundreds of thousands of people in this country who struggle through this time of year for a myriad of reasons and that there are millions more in this big wide world who struggle to survive in the current socio-political and ecological climate.

I’m afraid that the UK Election of 2019 hasn’t quite turned out how I’d have liked and now (like some sad and aging tribute band) the UK have not only retained our bargain-basement Trump knockoff, but apparently given the only-Muppet-Jim-Henson-never-loved a proper majority to endorse his racist, sexist, bigotry powered agenda. It’s been less than a month and we’ve had Christmas and New Years and the Tories have basically back-tracked on all their big key manifesto pledges.

I didn’t ever really want this blog to be politically oriented, it’s supposed to be about my experiences as a writer and advice to others following that path but I’m rather afraid that circumstances have dictated a shift in my stance on that policy.

I was going to write how, as much as the winter holiday period is branded as ‘family friendly’ there’s one huge problem with the ‘perfect holiday’ and that is people and especially family. No-one can get on our nerves as well as family and, throw in the tiresome business of travelling to and fro/hosting, and the sheer effort of the extra socializing, and the burden of the almost sacred duty to do all the above, and the holiday season can quickly become a very stressful time of the year. The ‘tradition’ of the family argument is all too often a reality (rather that a comedy bit for a Hallmark Comedy) which, though it may blow-up then settle just as quickly can mar the day for everyone.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit but, these times offer a great opportunity for the writer to watch how people interact and behave under pressure in an almost benign situation. You don’t really want to be an observer for an accident or crisis or violent incident just to improve how you handle such things in your writing but, within the petri-dish of such strained family dinners, lies the examples of interpersonal interaction under stress. I don’t endorse provoking argument for the purposes of research BTW.

That’s what I was going to write about but, in the wake of this election and it’s result, legitimizing the ugly face of Nationalism in this ‘green and pleasant land’ the added politics has been so much nastier. That’s not a sudden development, politics has been getting pretty nasty for a long-time it flares and dies  but we’re in a prolonged flare right now and all because of the Brexit (and that’s still a stupid name) Referendum of 2016. Brexit brought it into your house, there was so much venom stirred up by that issue that it didn’t stop at dividing friends but broke families apart like a game of Monopoly that no-one can win. I won’t say the election reignited the arguments because they never stopped but, certainly in the places I witnessed it, the socialist leftists where calling for the Conservatives to be hauled out on the grounds of their quiet culling of the most vulnerable elements of society while those who had supported Brexit where still calling for someone to ‘Get it done’. It seems that, nowadays in Not-so-great Britain, anyone clawing for some form of societal equality can be drowned out if the establishment even hint at them being anti-Brexit, the ‘Leave’ supporters will howl the poor devils to silence for them.

In the past I’ve talked about stereotypes and how they are used for comedy or to save time on descriptive prose by offering the reader a familiar concept. Well, the old stereotype for the British (before it became a drunken, violent football ‘supporter’) was essentially John Cleese in a bowler hat and pin-stripe suit. Well spoken and mannered, reserved and educated. That was the stereotype for the average citizen but, if we were to do the same for the Nation it’s very different. The UK leadership still likes to think this country has a lot more influence than it actually does. The legacy and political clout of ‘the Empire’ seems (in the eyes of many) to be not so long ago when really it is all but gone. The caricature of the UK I have in my head is an aging, aggressive single-parent (who has suffered several strokes at this point), dressed in the remnants of their once-finery, who makes much more of their tenuous ‘booty-call’ status with the US than there is even though no-one else believes it. Their ‘family’ immediate and extended has either turned it’s back on them or is in the process of doing so and it’s embarrassed offspring (Scotland, Wales and the remaining Ireland twin) can’t wait to finally get the hell out of the house.

So, while I may be frustrated, angry and admittedly a little afraid of what might come, and while I could go on, and on, and on I won’t. I will save the sentiment, if not the actual words, for my works in progress, my manuscripts will benefit from my emotions and my messages, warning of Corporate Greed and Political Corruption, will be interwoven with them and be all the stronger for them.

I can’t go ahead with hope. Unless something radical happens we’re looking at five more years of Tory leadership and, if  they haven’t already, the establishment of quiet means to keep them there. The continuation of Tory austerity means hundreds of thousands more vulnerable people will die from neglect and oppression while the trough at the top overfills with the proceeds of privatized utilities, health services, and eventually the emergency services too. The next five years holds little hope.

So I intend to go on in defiance, write my stories and lambaste the elite for their misdeeds and, if I cannot shame them through satire and caricature then maybe I’ll just have to include the list of their misdeeds alongside their actual names and have them whine ‘Libel!’ in my direction.

Forget ‘Happy’, let’s have a ‘Radical’ New Year.

2 thoughts on “Grist to the Mill

  1. I do beliedve all of the concepts you’ve offered in your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts arre too short for beginners.
    Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time?
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    Like

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