Saturday, 9 July 2016

Saturday Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On

I read one of your magazines this morning. Which one? I asked her. The one with Boris Johnson on the front. Ah, The New Statesman. What did you think? I think we should put politicians to the test before they are elected. Like a run-through or rehearsal? Yes, kind of.

My daughter and I were on our way to London’s West End. Like many families in the last few days we were trying to make sense of the outcome of the European referendum. I appreciated my daughter’s comment and her interest in an issue that will define her generation for years to come. I did explain to her, though, that society cannot work on trials and errors like science experiments. A society is made up of human beings and like it or not, we all have a stake in the way our country is governed. Better than having a dry-run whenever a politician comes up with a “brilliant” idea, we ought to ensure that the mechanisms through which that politician is elected work to their full capacity. Like hold said politician to account when they fail to produce the £350m-a-week they pledged for the NHS a few weeks before.

However, as we crossed Oxford Street en route to Tottenham Court Road, the popular Dominion Theatre on our right hand-side, I could not stop thinking about the theory put forward by my precocious fifteen-year-old. In my head I began to tweak her “experiment” a bit. Only that this time I was planning to use the arguments of the “other side”. Those who say they have no voice, that they cannot talk freely, that it is all “political correctness gone mad”. I wanted to see my adopted land through the eyes of those who hate what I represent. What if they took control of their country for a year? I sometimes feel like telling them, “Fine, go ahead, go as far as you possibly can. There will be no limits, no hurdles, and no objections. We will pave the way for you and your compadres. Go far, really far.

2016 is turning out to be an annus horribilis. I would like, then, to start 2017 with a wipe-the-slate-clean attitude. Please, any pessimistic views expressed in this post are completely intentional. Do hold the blog owner responsible for them.

First off, as of the 1st January 2017 every single immigrant, non-British citizen, EU or non-EU, with or without a British passport will be given 24 hours to leave the country. Only for a year, mind. It is an experiment, remember? Have family here? Tough, me too. I’ll see you at the airport. What’s that you’re saying? You’ve lived here ten, fifteen years? Look me in the eyes, son, I have been for almost twenty and I packed my suitcase last night. Anyway, the experiment is only for a year, remember? We’ll be back in twelve months. Well, we will be back if they don’t build The Wall, if they don’t pull up The Drawbridge, if they don’t create an Unbreakable Barrier around the British Isles. We will be back, but only if…

And now that we’re all gone (by the 2nd January, remember), the real work begins. For starters, get rid of all the other "undesirables": the community activists, the feminists (or Feminazis, as they are more commonly, and pejoratively, known nowadays), human rights campaigners, disability rights advocates, anti-homophobia groups, pro-ethnic-diversity supporters, etc. Banish them all to a little island on the Outer Hebrides. Those smug Scots will probably welcome them. It should be easy to achieve this because for a whole year Parliament will cease to function. Instead the world’s oldest democratic institution will outsource all executive decisions to private companies. At the end of the day it is not as if corporations are not already running the country, is it? With Parliament silenced, the path to a free-market-driven, full privatisation will be clear. First it will be the turn of the NHS. Break it all down into tiny, little pieces and put each to tender. Make sure that the company that wins the contract(s) (why stop at one? What happens if a company wins all the contracts) is not the more transparent one but the one with stronger links to members of the government (who happen to be, lest we forget, the CEOs and managing directors of the biggest corporations). In the modern world we need to wrest control from those pesky EU bureaucrats. That is why for the next year your local hospital's A&E will be run by one company, the ambulance service by another, the admin and operations department by a third one, staff recruitment, including doctors and nurses, by another company, catering by another one and so on and so forth. Best case scenario, all these departments will be run by the same business entity. Because, nothing says “long-term friendship” like a politician making sure his mate (they go back years, did you know?) is well served by the state. Oh, and the patients, I hear you ask? Well, they are the lucky ones (no, seriously, they will be). If they get left behind and forgotten in a hospital ward in pain, they can always blame the ambulance person, the doctor, the nurses (alas, no Filipino nurses. Remember, we, immigrants, are all gone now). After all, these companies may be private but it is the taxpayer coughing up for the service so the taxpayer still has the right to complain (To whom? Do not ask! Look, it's only a year!). Yes, I know that this patient is in agony and that no one has come to see them in two hours and that if they do die in the end everyone will start blaming everybody else, but, patience, please. After all, it is only a twelve-month-long experiment.

Education is the next biggie. Ensure that all schools go down the academy route, namely, privatisation by stealth. Did I say stealth? No, no need to be secret. Remember, it is an experiment. You can do whatever you like for a whole year, in the open, and if you are really pleased with the outcome, then, make it permanent. Put the contract to build new schools or refurbish existing ones out to tender, but, please, please, please, ensure that the contract goes to the company that has links with the chairman of the trust that runs the academy. It is only fair, isn’t it? After all, academies are investment and all investment has a built-in return component in it. Please, spare no opportunity to make money: brand-new uniforms, after-school activities, half-term and holiday programmes. Charge premium for everything. And when the education budget runs dry because there is no money left in the kitty, start charging parents for the lessons their children were receiving gratis before.

Regarding climate change, tear up all the agreements. There is no climate change. It is all a conspiracy. Drill, baby, drill! You only have twelve months. It is not as if our planet will suffer if you stop talking about global warming and concentrate instead on the car industry. Promise more roads, more motorways, better and bigger automobiles. Come on, dare to dream! There is no one around now to oppose you.

Where else can you make changes? Do not worry; there are myriad issues that need urgent attention. Human rights, scrap them. For these twelve months only Darwin’s theory, survival of the fittest, will rule. Same with women’s rights, race relations act, disability laws, gay rights. We do not need them. Women, especially, will learn their place. If you get raped when wearing a short skirt, it is your fault. If, on the other hand, you were wearing a neck-to-toe long dress and you still get raped, it is still your fault still for provoking lust in a man. As for abortion, do not even mention the word for a year. No abortion, under any circumstances. No exceptions. There were only exceptions before because you had to compromise with the PC brigade. Speaking of which…

No more political correctness. Now, with no immigrants and "undesirables" in the country one does not have to be careful anymore with what one says. Bring back the Jim Davidsons of this world. At last people will stop prefacing their sentences with “I’m not being racist, but…”. Now it will be fine to say “I am being racist and I am loving it and this is what I want to say and this is what I really, really mean”.
Imagine this lot or similar in charge for a year

Foreign policy will be as hawkish as possible. The word is “sell”. Sell weapons, as many as possible. Go around the globe, visit each arms fair, Flog as many weapons as you can. And start as many wars as possible. These weapons need to be tested and used. Do not worry about those annoying, hippie-looking pacifists. They can be neutralised easily now. Remember that you removed Parliament. The people running the country are a nameless, faceless corporation.

All this was on my mind recently following the conversation with my daughter. Imagine the United Kingdom like that for twelve months. Elderly people being sponsored to travel to a certain clinic in Switzerland. All expenses paid for by one of the ruling corporations. Euthanasia on the sly. After all it will still be a Christian country so morality will still be important. Black- and brown-skinned Britons being told to go home (what home? They were born here. It does not matter. Go home!). Children being brainwashed into believing that a dog-eat-dog world is the only option out there. Normal job contracts would cease to exist in their current form. Instead, there would be a zero-hour culture for everything. Voluntary work would be made compulsory to compensate for unemployment. Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch being asked to be in charge of the media department for that whole year with porn baron Richard Desmond their loyal deputy.

And then, on the 1st January 2018, I would arrive in Gatwick or Heathrow airport, desperate to see my family and finding a different nation. A better or worse one? One that has finally taken control of its own destiny or one that is sinking slowly without anyone noticing it?

I will be checking your answers from now until mid-September when I will return. In the meantime, thank you for your cyber-friendship. I really appreciate it.



© 2016

38 comments:

  1. See, Hitler did not die in the Bunker, I knew it!

    And your daughter? What an amazing 15 year old thinker.

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  2. Uggg the Hitler philosophy to a tee. If anyone ever let them in charge this is probably what would take place. Should send such people to Switzerland to be put down. Moron thinking through and through, part of the reason any change takes forever, that and greed and religious nuts and...hmmm maybe we are already in such an experiment?

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  3. Get rid of people with disabilities, gay people, and women too. They just incite unrest and make life difficult.
    Sigh.
    And sadly too many people WOULD jump at this chance. For selected groups.
    Enjoy your break.

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  4. You offer much food for thought. I hope you have a relaxing and rewarding break. Take care.

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  5. If the 150.000 old, white, prosperous Tory Party members (democratically) elect Andrea Leadsom as our new Prime Minister your experiment might come true sooner than you think. I have my bags packed, just in case.

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  6. Lots of food for thought here. I hope your break will be enjoyable and soothing. Take care of yourself. :)

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  7. Unless you are writing in the spirit and tradition of Jonathan Swift, I would say you certainly do need an escape from everyday life for a while, CiL -- rather desperately need it.

    In a way, though, it is somewhat reassuring to know that the United States is not the only country with a deeply divided population politically and philosophically and religiously and hmmmm ....

    Enjoy your time away, CiL ....

    P.S. If your daughter is serious in these thoughts, she might enjoy learning more about the "great American experiment," a description apparently coined and used by Alexis de Tocqueville in his two-volume, "Democracy in America," published in 1835 and 1840. The United States began as a social experiment never before seen on this earth with its Declaration of Independence in 1776. Some of us still see it as a portrait in progress, or, perhaps, still as a child, and, most certainly, as a continuing experiment with trial and error building toward maturity. Before a person can understand the present, he/she must know the past.

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  8. What a scary thought...I am living in and dealing with the consequences of the so-called "great American experiment." From my vantage point, America has gone completely over the rails...and if Britain follows...disaster...Enjoy your break!

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  9. When you come back on Jan 1st 2018, forget Gatwick and Heathorw and come to the island (probably many islands - there are a lot of us, even now) in the Outer Hebrides where millions of us are still trying to live decently.

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  10. Suddenly I feel scared. There really is no place for elderly folk in a mad world created by mad men.

    Enjoy your time out.

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  11. You must be feeling so threatened right now and I have non UK friends who feel just the same. I have also had the weird impression that I don't recognise my own country, but I am starting to realise that in most ways nothing has changed. The difference is that what was previously unacceptable behaviour has become acceptable, but I hope this will change if we get a strong leader. Those creatures who lied and blundered through the Leave campaign let us all down in so many ways but the worst was getting away with lying, cheating, backstabbing , quitting and putting themeslves before their constituents and their country, and breaking the barriers of decent political behaviour. I'd really love to see the lot of them jailed, but apparently they didn't break any laws. So we are left in chaos, a bit like when Teacher leaves the room at school and everyone starts jumping on the desks and screaming swearwords. That's the context I see the racists and thugs in. My anxiety now is whether the Tory grassroots will have the sense to vote in a strong experienced leader,not a puppet being funded by the far right, and whether Labour has the sense to can harness the huge support that exists for leftwing views, without tearing itself apart and diluting the leftwing vote. Just as we might not love or even like what either of those options actually means in practice (I don't), we do need someone to stamp into the teacher-less classroom and restores order. Luckily I don't think that either side is more focused on scapegoats than repairing the damage, as picking on people to blame is the biggest danger we face. But fortunately years of reasonably decent parliamentary democracy is on our side, and that is still in place.

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  12. A lot to think about.Take care.

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  13. Thanks for the futuristic perspective you laid out in so many details. It is a perspective that has infected our psyches all over the world. It must be our fear of incompetence.

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  14. Captivating post, as always. Enjoy your break, my friend :)

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  15. the world is obviously upside down :(

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  16. You paint a frightening picture, brother. The sad thing is that many people won't see the sarcasm. Enjoy your time off!

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  17. You paint a bleak picture of the future. Luckily, even though things seem to be going downhill, I have more faith in humanity... but as you say, we ALL have to stand up and be counted. Enjoy your holiday!

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  18. Hey Cubano=-a pretty crazy time. Here too. Have a great break. k.

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  19. Your daughter is brilliant! She clearly takes after you. I don't have any answers, but I have many questions about how Brexit will reshape the UK and Europe. The current rise of xenophobia and racism in the UK and the USA is truly disturbing. After the horrific week in my country, I need an emotional vacation so I have retreated to good books, searching for answers on the page. I haven't given up hope.

    Have a lovely vacation! I shall miss your posts.

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  20. Scary times there, and here too. Take care, and thanks for visiting my place. xx

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  21. I share your frustration, but hang in there. Surely, goodness and common sense will prevail in the end, right? (RIGHT?)

    Enjoy your break.

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  22. Felices vacaciones, saludos desde Mallorca!

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  23. I am absolutely dreading the November elections here in the US. Whatever happens, it is assured that for good to triumph over evil we all have to do whatever is in our power to defeat the greed, the hate, the violence and the raw fear which seem to be drowning what used to be known as the "civilized world". Enjoy your vacation - I wish you and yours a measure of peace.

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  24. Enjoy your break. Your daughter is an amazing kid.

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  25. and Scotland walks away from the UK.....

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  26. Wow Cubano, so many thought provoking points. The first of which is that I can't believe your daughter is 15!She's still a little girl in my mind. The West has definitely given into fear and is desperately trying to bring back a past that will never be. It's a surreal time for many of us.

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  27. annis horribilus...you know how that sounds right? ha.

    i just got home from Nepal and saw where you had visited. what an interesting summer you have had with the brexit. ha i wonder what the world would be like if it was survival of the fittest..i think it would be more "the richest" as they could sustain a lifestyle into the melee...

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  28. Your daughter is a bright one.. as is her dad. We sure do live in interesting times. Enjoy your time away.

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  29. Your daughter sounds bright! Enjoy the break.

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  30. You certainly envision a bleak future. But as my grandmother used to say, don't count your chickens until they hatch or in this case, don't get the knickers in a twist until you know what really is being planned. For those who voted to remain, anything other will considered utterly horrible but maybe the mass of you can put forth some ideas and clout to prevent the disaster that you almost relish imagining.

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  31. Oh .... leave only for a year?
    That is going to be really disastrous - if it ever happens.

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  32. Not only did I channel Swift in this post, but also, Rushdie, Atwood and Smith (Zadie). They are some of my favourite writers, chiefly, because of their sense of humour and timing. Above all, the author I was channelling the most was Cuban: Virgilio Piñera, who was born 104 years and three days ago today.

    Have a great summer.

    Greetings from London.

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  33. Te dejo mi blog de poesia por si quieres criticar gracias.
    Me gusta mucho el tuyo.
    http://anna-historias.blogspot.com.es

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  34. que maravilla de escrito te encontre de casualidad y me hiciste sonreir con el título Un cubano en Londres jajaja genial

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  35. Magnifica conversacion con tu hija.

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  36. Mid September...Looking forward to your next post! Hope you had a great summer.

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