What our illustrious leader did or did not do with a dead pig’s head is of little relevance in today’s world of hysteria and hashtags, it’s the idea that matters. It’s the imagery conjured up collectively by anybody who fires out ham-fisted puns from their keyboard into the online arena that is at play here. It’s disposable, distraction humour at its most base and effective, a social media frenzy that expands and consumes and then pops, leaving behind nothing but the detritus of redundant hashtags and forgotten memes. Welcome to the future, now, what’s next?
The Daily Flail, who have serialised the tell-all biography from which the allegations have come will be lapping it up as the promise of further revelations pumps up circulation. Nobody is talking about that communist swine Corbyn anymore. Nobody cares that Lord Ashcroft’s book is self-declared revenge because Cameron didn’t give him a job in exchange for his millions of party donations. It’s pure lurid headline but it’s always nice to see the Right wing shooting at itself. Finally a bit of balance in things and further evidence, if indeed any were needed, that the Flail is a populist trash rag dressed up as a grown up newspaper.
PigGate has been an amusing distraction from the world. But with this world being in the middle of some sort of globalised, piecemeal, tepid war, it makes you wonder what the rest of the planet thinks about David Cameron and what he may or may not have got up to with a dead pig’s head. It makes you wonder how we really stand with the genuine powerhouses. I would guess at; not very highly. Cameron’s squeamishly hostile stance on the “swarms” of immigrants was only softened when a dead boy washed up on the shore of some God forsaken beach. Subsequently there were photo opportunities at a school in Lebanon, a country that has taken in over one million refugees from its stricken neighbour. And as EU leaders thrash out who has to take in what number of those in flight from atrocity, you’d be forgiven in thinking that Europe is bearing the brunt. As Piggate swills down around the ankles of the World Wide Web you wonder how seriously we as a nation are being taken. Are we actually being a “Great” country here?
Meanwhile, in Syria; Russia has been flying in troops and planes and choppers and equipment and all the other instruments needed to support Assad and to sustain a conflict for an indeterminable amount of time. The Western powers have hesitated and cogitated and procrastinated and Putin has moved into the vacuum with unerring determination to prop up the regime and avoid another Libya-type situation. Syria is imploding and by proxy we all move closer to World War Three. This is what happens when revolutions gather enough momentum to shake up the status quo but not enough to go over the hump. Of course the situation is infinitely sadder and more complex than any two bit blogger could hope to understand or convey within the confines of any two bit blog, still, I can’t help but think that somewhere along the line we have let a people down in the worst kind of way. Not once but twice.
Out of my window I see old ladies dressed as Zebras talking about UKIP in gardens overgrown by unkempt time and hang over weeds. You can feel the words rattling up their throats even from up here on the top floor. Mercedes Man has gone full Travis Bickle this week, some deep stifled rage has made him shave the sides of his head and buy a strimmer. He’s out there too. He’s in the alley though, not with the Zebras. Strimming his way through generations of tough rooted weeds and month stale cat shit. Cat Lady is ever present, sweeping away the debris and the ash from her perpetually guttering cigarettes. They seem cheerful enough.
Out of my window I can see over the wall and into the regular people gardens. I can watch that big old boy from across the way nailing tin signs into the side of his shed as his trousers fall down and bunch around his ample ankles. He might be shouting at God or he might be shouting at his wife, impossible to tell, his mouth filled as it is with protruding nails. His wife answers first and with time taught precision she hoists him back to respectability. This is not what I moved to the seaside for.
But further to the left, almost at the very extremity of my view I can see the Lighthouse, locked forever in its 4.5 second revolutions and I’m reminded of the holidays of childhood and the importance of keeping things to a regular beat. This isn’t a bad town to be in if you want away from the rest of the country. It’s not a bad town to be in if you like eating ice cream in the rain. You’ve got three fingers worth of second hand bookshops and enough pubs to get thrown out of to keep you busy. And you have that unquantifiable comfort of knowing that with your back to the sea, you can never get surrounded by idiots. If the worst comes to the not much better you can fill your pockets with rocks and go out Virginia Woolf style.
But let us not talk of such things, especially when Mercedes Man is attacking the gate post with a hacksaw. George the cat watches on, impassive and fat. Poor George, the bastard cat used to be the embodiment of cute kitten chic until it went to his head and he got fat and lazy. He got thrown off the roof of the Mercedes the other day by his buddy Sweep. I don’t really know much about this Sweep character but he sprays everywhere and he power slammed poor George off that car roof and they haven’t spoken since.
There are only two seasons in a seaside town; in and off. But the edges blur and mix and everything goes that dish water grey from sky to sewer. It’s romantic in that sad way that speaks of the lost and the nearly. You always end up where you’re supposed to be. Cromer is where you come to if you want to opt out of modern life. Acquire a substantial collection of vinyl records, by fair means or foul and blast down the A11 at 100mph and don’t stop until you can spit into the North Sea. Hole up in a little flat somewhere on the top floor and pretend like you’re in Greenwich Village circa ‘61. Shut it all out. Put Bob on the turntable and watch the lighthouse and watch the Zebra people and the Cat people. Maybe write a blog about it.
I am thirty years old and the closest I have come to voting was earlier this year when I drew a sad face on my ballot paper and walked away from the process utterly dejected. All through my twenties, I along with the rest of my generation have been branded as apathetic and apolitical, terms which rile me up quite nicely. Of course, there are a vast number of young people who don’t and won’t ever really care; c’est la vie. There is however another group of people in the eighteen to thirty bracket; those who choose not to participate because they don’t want to align themselves with the hyper-spun, slick faced avatars of modern party politics. The idea of democracy has become so removed from this demographic that it was starting to seem alien and redundant. We were told by anybody with a microphone and an earpiece that the General Election this year would be the closest in a generation. It wasn’t even worth staying up for. In the morning the country woke up to a Conservative majority, a Liberal Democrat Party reduced to a nub and your Party shattered and leaderless. It was a pretty grim start to the summer.
And now, here we are, five months later and things have changed. You won the Leadership Election much to the consternation of the right wing media and you have captured the zeitgeist energy of people who want a real life person to lead the opposition.
As our right wing Government further distances themselves from the ordinary people of the country and as the gap between the haves and haven’ts widens I think you’ve arrived at just about the right time. Even Russell Brand, the supposed voice of the Left and the left behind has piped down in favour of a sold out world tour. But whereas his was the oratory of a cartoon revolutionary, yours is balanced and measured and void of histrionics. You seem to me to talk a lot of sense, you seem to me to be a fundamentally decent person and that is what a lot of people have been looking for.
I can’t imagine it’s very easy getting sniped at from seemingly every angle for almost everything you do. Not singing the national anthem? How dare you! Where are we? North Korea? I don’t sing the national anthem because I’m an atheist. I fail to see how this is relevant to anything at all. But the hostility is going to be fierce and relentless and I wish you well in managing it.
To those that say that you are going to take the Labour Party back to the ‘bad old days’ I would say this; take a look around at the food banks, at the selling off of chunks of the NHS, at the poverty, at the deprivation, these are the bad old days. You were right when you said that people want a new type of politics and you have an opportunity to move us towards that ideal. People say that under your leadership Labour won’t stand a chance at the 2020 General Election and I suspect that they might be right; the country as a whole seems to be lurching ungraciously to the Right. But some of us welcome a genuine opposition to that way of doing things. Some of us welcome compassion into the equation as something more than a PR exercise. Some of us retain the right to be hopeful.
You have energised a lot of people and I don’t think that can be undone by any Daily Mail yell and flail. Maybe the Conservatives will romp home in five years’ time, maybe it really is death to the underclass. But unless you give me cause to do otherwise, I will be voting for Labour at the next Election and I know a lot of others will as well.