Come the revolution?

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It was Plato who said “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” There again he also said “This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”

So I was minding my own business, honest I was. But then it broke out all over Facebook like a rash. One overpaid media ‘personality’ metaphorically slaps another overpaid media ‘personality’.

Yeeehaa, cat fight everybody.

I’m afraid that I’d let my two grandmothers judge Brand. They’d have scrubbed his mouth out with soap and water. I remember one of them using the phase ‘foul mouthed and ignorant’ to describe someone. They knew that good manners and basic courtesy was one thing that ‘they’ couldn’t take off you. But then my grandmothers were decent working people, they weren’t ‘edgy’ or ‘relevant’.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

Now I’m not all that old, but I’m old enough to have heard men sit and talk; men for whom Spain was the killing fields of their youth rather than a cheap holiday destination. If you want Anarchy, if you want Revolution, then I’ve talked to the men who tried the real thing. Revolution isn’t posturing on the media or even ranting on facebook, it’s hugging the ground closer than you ever hugged a lover. It’s clutching a cheap mass-produced rifle, nursing it like a child because it might keep you alive. I was told you can always tell the winners, they’re the ones who stand up unaided when the shelling stops. Apparently the dead have probably achieved a no-score draw. The losers are the wounded, depending on whose hands they fall into. If you want revolution, just look at Syria where they’ve got one. Revolutions aren’t discrete, something to be enjoyed solely by consenting adults. Once you’ve got a revolution, everybody’s got it. Pity about the old people and kids but hey, you wanted a revolution.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

And then you get people saying things like they want to kill Tories. Well here I can help. It’s a doddle, any fool can do it.

“Basically you kneel them along the edge of the ditch. Not got a ditch, why let them dig their own, and then you can chuckle as you watch the bloated plutocrats do some honest toil. Then you take your automatic pistol in your right hand. (You are right handed? Yes? Then start from the right hand end of the line so you’re not shooting across youself.) Place the pistol barrel at the back of the neck, if they’re blind folded then just below the blindfold. Then as you release the trigger, with your right knee just nudge the body forward with your knee, it’s tidier that way, more professional, the body should topple forward and the weight of the torso will bring the legs down after it. Then just move onto the next.”
“What if you miss? From this range? OK you might not get a clean kill but being buried alive will finish them off. After all there’s not many ever manage to dig themselves out with their hands tied behind their back is there. But if they’re lucky someone will finish them off with a spade so it’s not your problem.”
“Filling in the ditch? Lawks child, that’s where experience comes in. You have the next lot to be shot dig their ditch parallel to the one that needs filling, so they dig their ditch and fill the previous one at the same time. Told you we’d done this before. And don’t worry about there not being another lot. This is a revolution, there’s always another lot. OK they might not be what you initially meant by Tories this time, they might just be people the Party disapproves of, or troublemakers who upset some local bigwig, or just ‘enemies of the people’. (We get a lot of them.)”

(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

So you want to change the world? Here’s a tip. You’re not going to achieve anything on Facebook. Facebook is the circuses bit of our ‘bread and circuses’. It’s here as a displacement activity, so people can vent in the comfort of their own homes and then go and hunt down cute cat pictures. It’s here so that people can rant, mock, troll, whatever to their hearts content.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

How many people have ever been to an open political meeting? I went to one a few years back, so long ago I cannot remember the subject under debate. My excuse is that oldest daughter was at archery and I needed something to do to kill a couple of hours. Mind you ‘debate’ wasn’t really the right word for it. The entire audience was pretty well on first name terms with each other, they seemed genuinely surprised when someone new walked in, and even more surprised when I explained I’d come to listen to the discussion.
Because there wasn’t a discussion, it was a case of ‘we hold these things to be self evident’. The talks were a series of rants directed at their demonised opponents and they were greeted with enthusiastic applause by the faithful gathered in the congregation.
Doubtless there was some sort of mirror of this meeting being held elsewhere in town, where the rants would be in support of the opposite proposal and the congregation of the faithful equally enthusiastic.
But, Lord love them, it isn’t their fault. If everyone sits on their backsides at home and doesn’t take part, who is going to raise a polite hand and ask “I say, could you just run through that point again, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense?”
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

In fact if enough people turn up, the two opposing groups might even work up the courage to hold their meeting in the same room on the same night!

If you want to change the world then walk out of the door and into the world and actually do something. Chat to an elderly neighbour, go and help out at a youth group, help at the homeless drop in or somewhere providing respite for carers. Some people out there are actually doing this. They’re the cement that holds society together, not cute catch pictures or witty political posts on Facebook.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

And politics? “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” If you don’t like the choice, then stand yourself. Obviously there’s a risk that you might get elected and have to take responsibility and do the chuffing job but hey, into each reign a little life must fall.
You never know, just by standing you might force the others to up their game; you might get people interested and involved. What is important is what happens, not how many ‘likes’ it gets.
Wonder how many people ‘unfriend’ me after this?
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

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8 thoughts on “Come the revolution?

  1. M T McGuire October 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm Reply

    I can’t argue with this. The reason I couldn’t go into politics is because none of them seem to be able to have an argument any more. They just shout the same points a little bit louder and louder until one of them gives in. That’s probably the reason why I should.

    Cheers

    MTM

    • jwebster2 October 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply

      It’s entirely the reason you should 🙂 If good people don’t go in politics then we can hardly complain that there are no good people in politics.

      • M T McGuire October 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

        I know but the frustration…. I just don’t want to die that young.

      • jwebster2 October 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Frustration is like stress. Don’t suffer, be a carrier. I think you have to play differently by the rules, keep them on their toes and nervous 🙂

  2. keirarts November 4, 2013 at 8:39 am Reply

    I had a discussion about revolution the other day.

    I was on a forum discussing a two-film screen adaptation of the life of Che Guevara.

    There was a few Americans there including some Cuban exiles who were all adamant it was disgusting that they spent all that money making a film about a common murderer.

    I tried to point out that whatever your political opinions of the man were, he was a major figure of twentieth century history and a worthy subject.

    “But he lined people up and shot them! He was a murderer!” seemed to be the common response.

    I tried pointing out that he was a revolutionary. Most revolutions get bloody and people die. In many respects, politics aside, he was little different to George Washington. The American revolution was hardly a bloodless affair.

    “But Washington was trying to create a country where everyone is free and equal!” Came the response.

    “Well CHE wasn’t trying to create a totalitarian state when he set out” I replied. “It just ended up like that because reality didn’t match his ideals. America may not be the bastion of freedom and hope its made out to be in its PR, but it was a little more grounded ideologically.”

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    I never got a satisfactory response from those people.

    The thread may still be there someplace if you look up CHE on IMDB.

    • jwebster2 November 4, 2013 at 9:08 am Reply

      I think you’re right, ‘The road to hell IS paved with good intentions. It always seems such a good idea at the start. Not only that but Che started out with a good cause.
      I suspect that you’ll never get a satisfactory response. Too many people who have no experience of the real world are absolutely sure that they could do it better.The more erudite the company, the less chance you’ll have of a sensible reply. Someone who cannot rewire a plug should not be allowed to run anything larger than a philosophy department 🙂

      I found one quote which rather sums up the mind set of a lot of our ‘elite’
      “Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”
      ― Thomas Sowell

      • keirarts November 4, 2013 at 9:37 am

        My favorite use of ‘the road to hell..’ is in Eric. There is writing on the steps and one sentence reads, “for the children..” that made me laugh. Very, Very true.

      • jwebster2 November 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

        Yes, the Eric reference occurred to me as well, Pratchett is very funny and perceptive at the same time.
        Actually CS Lewis also mentions it, he’s less funny but for our purposes equally perceptive “Indeed the
        safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts”

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