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« Katy Evans-Bush Guest Blogger October 24-30 | Main | Magritte (& Van der Weyden?) »

October 24, 2010

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Welcome back, Katy! This is (as always) a terrific thought-provoking post, and it makes me look forward even more to this week.

It sure feels like a dystopia over here, too.

Compared to the 202 other officially recognized countries in the world, England is one of the ten most generous welfare states. There's a whole class and culture of welfare dependency, two and three generations, living in comfortable social housing and not one person dead of starvation or in fear of being abducted, tortured or murdered by the state apparatus; unlike in Iraq, say.

The problem is, the UK borrowed beyond its means and on an individual basis, we chose to believe (and communicate in) a patently transparent marketing-speak gobble dee gook nonsense language we chose to imitate, fed to us by the last lot of con-men gangsters who sold out the working class. We took on credit and were happy to build a mountain of public and private debt. Our own collective greed, driving house prices up.

Two generations ago, it was the norm to save up and then buy stuff, whereas now, we grandkids of the WW2 generation (who did experience hardship), have allowed our wants, expectations and language, to reach absurdly unrealistic levels. We want our i-pods, plasmas and all the 'essential' bits and pieces we the switched-on, carey sharey faux liberals of luvviedom, need to get through the daily 'hell' of modern life; commuting, underpaid, undervalued, all the other 59,999,999 people on the island to contend with, coffees arriving late, not being treated with the respect befitting our station by the waitresses in the cool-expensive cafes where menus are printed in French and its twenty bucks for a lotte-mocha-toa-chai with banana and watercress boulange. How dare those ungrateful Iraqis go on about being hung up by meat hooks, crying over a few broken bones. It's not our fault. We've got bills to pay, people to see, contracts to sign, poems to compete.

We get what we vote for, and New Labour chose to add layer on layer of pointless bureaucracy and create a million public sector jobs that weren't needed and have to be paid for. It would have been more productive in the long run if they just made them no-show jobs, and that way there'd be a million less publically paid busybodies inventing 'work' for themselves, whose job it is think up rules they can enforce, treat children like adults and adults like children, telling the private citizen how to behave, what to do, where we can walk, why we and not our child has to hand a plastic toy-sword to the cashier at the checkout, who cannot accept it off anyone under five, because it is a 'dangerous' item.

They're the rules and reasons thought up by a highly expert and overpaid team of consultants on the health and safety quango-think-tank. We have to be vigilant and alert to the dangers associated with a (phoney) war on terror that replaced the cold war: don't you know there's a war on terror being fought, ten thousand miles away radicalized nutters are plotting to kill the brave and free youth of England because of a highly complex series of 'difficult' and challenging reasons we, the public, the people who vote, are too thick to understand, and are classified anyway, but which are in no way related to a, quite correct and morally imperative removal of Saddam Hussein (who treated women appallingly).

The breakdown of community spirit is, I think, in part, attributable to this bloated, unsustainable nanny state model and language, in which the obvious, uncomplicated ways of behaviour and speech are not encouraged because everything has gone mad since Blair told us a pack of lies and from then on, it aint been acknowledged by our leaders, that we, England, got it wrong and need to stop conning ourselves, pretending, en masse, collectively not facing reality.

Wow.

Hey, was that Jeremy Clarkson?

Thank you, Katy Evans-Bush for a thought-provoking article on the state of poetry that actually marries its opposition - and its impetus - to the "quotidian" world.

Anne Caston

I wonder to whom the initials "GB" belong: Great Britain! Gordon Brown! George Bernard Shaw! (But not George Bush or George Babbitt or George Burns.) You wrote an excellent column, Katy, and it's hardly surprising that it would provoke lengthy comment.
When I spent my two years at Cambridge, I felt the presence of glorious ghosts from World War II and a readiness to put up with the austerity measures of the times -- strikes, this being the 1970s: long disagreeable strikes -- proudly and with the stiff upper lip of Alec Guinness. Nice to see that some things don't change. The American press is making hay over how the Brits, bless 'em, are content with stoic grumbling while the panty-waist French are ready to storm the Bastille when asked to take a wee bit of Castor oil with their nightly aperitif.

Aux armes, poètes!

I like it, Katy. Biscuits and sabre-rattling round at my place when the stoic grumbling proves ineffective.

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