Posted by Simon Parke, 18 December 2018, 8.59am
The red mist of outrage falls, making all quite certain.
Before the gods destroy someone, they make them quite certain.
Our Prime Minister is certain.
‘The nation has spoken’ declares May, again and again and again, dismissing half the nation as irrelevant… as if a moment in time can be written in stone, like the Ten Commandments.
She reminds me of a crab whose shell has grown over and covered her eyes.
It’s not that I particularly want another vote. But it’s the principle at play which is nonsense.
At home, we may decide to have a picnic lunch in the park. But if hailstones and thunder appear at midday, we change our minds.
Perhaps we say, ‘Oh well, another day perhaps.’
We agree to adjust.
Certainly no one’s saying, ‘But we made the decision to have the picnic – we can’t now not have a picnic, just because of the hailstones and thunder! ’
Yet somehow in the political sphere, the picnic must go ahead. This small and uninformed moment in time, also called a referendum, is somehow sacred.
We’re not allowed to agree to change our minds.
As I say, it’s not that I particularly want another vote. It’s just that when a narrative is mad, it needs stating.
Like Jeremy Corbyn’s narrative of tripping along to Brussels and finding them entirely compliant to a scheme they have said they’ll reject.
‘Jeremy, here’s a blank document, signed by the entire EU. Write in it whatever you want. Spank us soundly, monsieur!’
No one knows what Corbyn wants, apart from power. It’s the luxury of opposition to present a plan with the credibility of a unicorn’s day dream; but permit the rest of us a little despair.
There’s nothing like good leadership and this is nothing like good leadership.
Sadly Theresa May can’t do relationship, (it’s an issue when you live behind a shell) and never has been able to.
In a way, the hostile environment she created at the Home Office towards immigrants is her default attitude towards anyone not in full agreement with her.
I’ve never seen a more separate functionary on the national or international stage, apart from Trump; and sadly, we need relationship now.
But the red mist of outrage falls, and relationship is difficult.
Still, we’ve made one amazing discovery: apparently everyone knows the future, which is a bit of a thing.
Previously, it has been accepted that no one knows the future; that it is an unwritten book…but not now.
We’re all Mystic Meg these days, we know the future entirely, and use it to justify our positions.
‘Look at Hungary, Greece and Italy! Europe will collapse politically and economically!’
‘Look at it’s new trade deal with Japan! Europe will be strong politically and economically!’
The trouble is, the future is unwritten, it doesn’t exist. Like our friend committing suicide, we don’t see it coming.
There is only the present and what is happening before our eyes here and now.
I sense there is more unresolved anger on the leave side, now playing out on the national stage.
This is not to say there aren’t other forces at work in the Leave camp; of course there are. But there do seem to be a lot of authority issues out there – the angry child now shouting at the wrong people, crucifying parent substitutes.
While among remainers, Europe has become the most holy of shrines, the embodiment of all that is good, beautiful and true…when it isn’t.
It creaks with dysfunction and discord.
I voted remain and would prefer to remain; I believe in such solidarity and connection for now, given the present political templates around the world, whether in the USA, The Middle-East or Russia.
But there are other ways to relate.
And more important still is that we find some sort of internal ease as a nation, because a country divided in itself struggles.
More important than leaving or staying for the UK, is finding a leader who can make one nation of us; for some have been left very far behind.
Put simply, we need to find a place beyond outrage, and start from there. Outrage makes an arse of people, significantly diminishing their humanity.
It leads to selective vision, impoverished listening, disingenuous speech and dismal self-righteousness.
The ego loves outrage, it won’t be pleased.
But as we ease ourselves from the seductions of outrage, a kinder climate appears within us and around us, like a sun-lit clearing in the forest, where people can stop lying and obfuscating and reacquaint themselves with truth.
Beyond outrage, we discover again that we’re human and stumble into surprising genius.
And this is the news.