This Is Not A
Going Round Again
I suppose it's time - as the winter's snows cover up the dead dogs' corpses of another year - for another of those 'end-of-year' pieces which are torture to write and which nobody ever reads anyway.
And yet, I find it very difficult to see the point. The more things have 'changed', the more they seem to have stayed the same: home or abroad, the same incompetents, thugs and criminals remain in power; the same self-protecting groups have been allowed to carry on in their own sweet way, never needing to fear apprehension or justice; the same wrong directions are being followed with dangerous - if not suicidal - zeal.
For myself, I find myself in much the same situation as I did this time last year: stuck in a job which is well below my capabilities, under the control of senior and middle managers who consider me and my colleagues to be nothing more than numbers, counters to be moved across the gaming board as and when it suits them; and unable to find anything more suitable because of an economic collapse engineered by those who have managed to insulate themselves from its effects with my money.
Unlike last year, I can't take comfort in having had any work published elsewhere, even for free. The Transdiffusion website is undergoing a major revamp (eight months and counting), and so the one piece I was commissioned to write earlier this year has yet to appear; and I can't even seem to get my letters into the Independent now, either! (*)
I gave up smoking for two months back in the summer. Not a bad effort after thirty years. But then I started again (albeit to a lesser degree). My doctor had warned me that there were two elements to the problem, one chemical and the other psychological, and that it was this latter factor which was the more difficult to overcome. And so, indeed, it has proven. So far...
Still, I got to see Kraftwerk at last.
In the country at large, there is little encouragement to be found for optimism. During 2009, our political leaders have proven to be terminally corrupt, unable to resolve even their own malfeasances without making themselves look even worse. That the same politicians should then totally fail to take decisive action against the spivs and chancers who filled their boots during the so-called 'boom' and whose cupidity, stupidity and arrogance has caused soaring unemployment amongst those who were not fortunate enough to be caught in one of those happy updraughts of prosperity, only makes it easier to understand why politicians are now ranked as having lower professional standards than crack-whores.
Similarly, the police in 2009 were still able to mistreat, abuse and even kill with apparent impunity; the civil administration was still able to take even further arbitrary and extreme powers unto itself; and the media who should be watching them like hawks still seem either to be too scared to do so (e.g., the BBC), too 'embedded' with the establishment to do so (e.g., the Guardian), or too obsessed with the culture of brainless celebrity (e.g., just about all the rest of them) to be anything much more than stenographers for whichever organisation or PR company is paying them or passing easy-to-copy-and-paste press releases to them.
And so the arse-covering continues, whether it be yet another eunuchoid 'enquiry' into the criminality of the Blair regime regarding its war on Iraq, or the 'Independent' Police Complaints Commission rushing to defend the Metropolitan Police just hours after its officers were implicated in the killing of an innocent bystander...using the exact same phrases used by the Met itself.
And then we face the real prospect during the coming months of a new government committed just as much as its predecessors to favouring the favoured and kicking those who could scarcely be kicked any further. All this added to the (albeit largely media-inflated) rise of the far Right, and the acceptance into the discussions of the political and media 'mainstream' of the most callous, inhumane and dangerous rhetoric towards substantial portions of our fellow inhabitants, be they those seeking shelter from oppression elsewhere or those who are simply 'different' by dint of their being a different colour.
Which brings me to the lands beyond the sea.
I cannot say that I have been disillusioned by Obama, if only because I was never 'illusioned' with him in the first place. He was - and remains - a machine politician and, in the same way that Thatcher's reign brought few benefits to women in the UK, so too 'Barry' may well turn out to be a predictable disappointment to the overwhelmingly-poor ethnic groups of the USA. Given that he has also presided over the continuation of the policies of Bush's criminal enterprise in extending his country's belligerent attitudes and in feather-bedding the Ponzi Pirates of Wall Street, the only groups likely to benefit are those who were already nicely taken care of, thank you. Ordinary Americans (still being laid off by the thousand in order to 'offshore' production or to defend the stock prices) Need Not Apply.
Elsewhere, vicious dictatorships continue to operate unchecked in such places as Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and the so-called People's Republic of China (the thuggish arrogance of which leads them to putting the mentally ill to death just to thumb their noses at the world); the Zionists still illegally occupy large parts of Palestine with the willing connivance of a guilt-tripped West and its puppet regimes in Amman and Cairo; resource wars continue to be fought on at least two continents; and the Obama administration can openly back fraudulent elections in Honduras as a consequence of yet another democratically-elected government being overthrown by the military allied with business interests.
And all the while, supposedly 'democratic' and 'free' countries can contrive to gain increasing control of what we, the people, are allowed to know. Australia has bowed to pressure from religious extremists to censor the internet; India (the land of the Kama Sutra) has just started blocking its citizens' access to pornography online; and in many other countries, politicians are giving themselves, the courts and other state bodies increasing powers to snoop upon and block the online communications of the general population (always under the footling rhetoric of 'combatting terrorism', 'protecting the vulnerable ("Won't someone think of the kiddies?"), or at the behest of those bloated bus-missers called 'the creative industries'). And England's libel laws are still an international fucking disgrace, presided over by a grandstanding oaf like David Eady who claims global jurisdiction for his dangerous opinions.
So, what's new? Sod all, really. Happy New Year...
* Update (01/01/10): The Indy published my letter of 28/12/09 on New Year's Day. Here (scroll down to the last letter). It's merely a restatement of what I said here.