The universe tends towards entropy, and Britain’s post-war settlement lurches on to its own heat death. I find it interesting that the language of science uses words like “chaos” and “disorder” when describing the tendency, when for me the ultimate fate of the universe would seem to be stasis. Static. It’s the same with traffic, isn’t it: when everything stops, the tabs call it “traffic chaos” when its actually traffic stasis. Paralysis.
That queue to view a wooden box draped in a flag is more stasis.
This week, “out of respect”, everything has got a little bit shittier. Funny that. Respect for the corpse of a symbolic link to lies about Britain’s past takes precedent over everything else, whether it is our freedom of speech or customer service.
Brexit and the pandemic both already did considerable damage to the economy and our quality of life. I’m sure there are still some areas of the country where it’s possible to see a doctor, but around here, it’s more or less impossible. My most recent in-person appointments have been with a nurse practitioner and a paramedic, and I’ve spoken with what seems to be the last available doctor over the telephone. I say “spoken”. Mostly the conversation was me asking them to repeat themselves because I couldn’t hear a word they were saying.
I read in the Graun the other day that, in desperation, people are “going private” in order to get operations impossible to get on the NHS. Which made me despair just a little bit (more), because of course all those private operations will be done by doctors also employed by the NHS, often in NHS hospitals. So if I’d been writing the headline, it would have been about rich people jumping the queue and making people who can’t afford private healthcare wait even longer. But what do I know?
I’ve always believed that things would have to get much much worse before people woke up and started taking action. Well: people are finally out on the street, but they’re queuing to look at a flag on a box. Meanwhile, 50 Stop Oil protesters were jailed on a single day.
I heard a discussion on a podcast about the realities of abolishing the monarchy. There’s a clever sleight on hand the media does over this. They pretend there’s a binary choice between a political (and probably unpopular) president, and a symbolic head of state who lives in several palaces and castles. I don’t give a shit about King Charles vs President Blair (which is often the way the binary choice is presented). But I would love to see the rest of the parasites cut off from the public teat, and the end to scenes such as we’ve seen this week. Prince fucking Edward with his chestful of medals from five minutes in the army. Prince fucking Andrew anywhere anytime.
And it’s not just the unelected monarchy; it’s the House of Lords, and the honours system, and the system of patronage and old school ties. It’s the crests and the logos and the crowns (give the diamond back to India) and the sceptres and the magic wands. It’s the unfit-for-purpose Palace of Westminster, which should be replaced with a debating chamber with enough seats for everyone which are arrayed in a semicircle rather than on opposite benches. It’s the first past the post election system and the lack of true representation. All of that! Not just King fucking Charles, so don’t reduce the debate to, “Would you want a President Blair, though?”
But the answer is, actually, yes I would, because his term would be limited, and we could vote him out if we wanted to. Better than what we have now, which is stasis.
So put all that shit in a museum and give us a working democracy instead of this charade.