The second draft of Leaving On The Tide (Book 4 of the Shaihen Heritage series) is complete. It’s out with a small team of beta readers for a verdict – if they think it’s worth it, I’ll start on the process of getting it published and try to figure out how the hell to promote it. There will be further tweaks, but essentially the second draft is the finished item.
I’ve completed Myo’s quest for the Fair Land just as the Brexit circus lurches to its final ignominious conclusion and Britain takes a sickening lurch to the right. I hate to break this to my friends, but…we’ve lost, guys. We lost in June 2016. Just like decent Americans lost when Trump got elected. The left and centre are hanging on in Europe by their fingernails.
While the liberals and the lefties are howling with rage over the prorogation of Parliament, it’s a move that has increased the Boris-in-a-Chinashop’s lead in the polls. Make no mistake, he wouldn’t be doing any of this if he didn’t think it was popular. As my friend and fellow-author Bev Allan said to me a while back, you can never under estimate the socialist tendencies of the British public. From white van man to the smart lady in the tea shop, the disengaged British electorate are by and large conservative.
Having said that, the vast majority of the current electorate have grown up and prospered under the system that produced Boris Johnson. I once thought that system was broken, but it isn’t. It was designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and it is continuing to do that with vigorous success. The middling sort (neither rich nor poor) have been bought off for decades with special offers – from ever increasing wages to buying your council house, and making a killing by selling it on. Conned by the myth of the “trickle down effect” we were encouraged to live on credit, duped by lots of bright shiny things with buttons on that made life so much easier. I know. I lived through it. Grant and I built a business from it. It’s been very good for me, financially. You see why others who have benefitted from it don’t want it to stop.
What’s happening now is that the cost of this increasing inequality is getting more and more apparent, and the supply of special offers is drying up. The price of this system that has made quite a lot of Britons a lot better off than their forebears has been paid in lives. Human lives and life on Earth generally. The prospect for the so-called millenials, brought up with all the expectations of their parents plus a few bells and whistles, is grim. The bill landed on the mat some time ago and now we’re facing the final demand.
So why would millenials vote conservative? There is very little in the status quo for them. But don’t think the right wing haven’t thought of that. When bribery fails, try good old fashioned patriotism. Us and Them. Divide and conquer.
We are at a tipping point politically and whatever happens, things are going to change. How we change will determine the future of human life on this planet because we are at a tipping point environmentally as well, with just a decade or so to start reversing the damage we’ve done.
To explain how I see the choice we’re facing, I think the easiest thing is to quote from Leaving On The Tide;
“There were broadly two schools of political thought [in Kivor City]. The party arising from the Imperial past was called Liberty, and its ethos was one of heritable individual wealth, defined by laws of ownership. The opposing group, called Commonality, was inspired by the Shaihen myth, and believed that people inherited everything jointly, to be used for the common good. Sometimes one group held the upper hand, and sometimes the other, and between them, these two covalent beliefs had forged the Kivorian state.”
Needless to say, I am a Commonality supporter. And yes, it was difficult to come up with a term that wasn’t “communism”. All political ideas are expressed and interpreted by flawed and fallible human beings, corrupted, abused and cynically misappropriated. Reality never lives up to the myth.
The most resonant slogan of the Leave campaign was “take back control” – and it has become ever clearer as the Remain strategy unravelled both before and after the referendum that ordinary people have lost what little control they ever had over their lives. We’re all individual ants running around squabbling among ourselves while the real players do just what they want. By eviscerating the Labour movement, those in power have left us all in fear of losing the jobs and incomes we have, scrabbling for worthless zero-hour contracts for dead-end jobs or surrendering our lives, loves, hopes and dreams to the slavery of the corporate ladder – a goal that gets ever harder as technology steals more and more of the jobs people used to do. Despite our youthful dreams of self-sufficient living, Grant and I succombed to the norm along with almost everyone else under the pressure of social expectations and the responsibilities of raising a family. It gave us a lovely home and a comfortable living, and left me financially secure. But I firmly believe it was the stress of trying to keep the business afloat, coupled with chronic back pain, that contributed to Grant’s early death. And I colluded with him, both in throwing everything into the business and in accepting that nothing could be done about the back pain. I had neither the strength, courage nor insight to turn round and say, this is not the life we want, let’s change it. And why? Because, in our late 50s, without the business what would we do for money?
Well, a large part of the reason I have money now is because I don’t have Grant. When he was down, he even used to make a black joke of saying I would be better off without him. Financially, thanks to the life insurance, I am. But even writing that statement fills me with revulsion. Of course Grant was so much more valuable to me than money could ever be. The idea that you can measure peoples’ worth in monetary terms is repulsive, ludicrous, unthinkable. Yet we live in and support a system that is designed to do just that.
We might have lived in it, but we never voted for it. Now, it looks like even the control we thought we had through the checks and balances of Parliamentary democracy was just another circus, and our vaunted constitution not worth the paper it isn’t written on. My term for so called “direct democracy” is mob rule.
The people of Britain are disempowered and impoverished. We have been cheated and lied to by those in power (that’s what people in power do, read the book). If we are to rebuild the Britain that our forefathers died to defend, we need to start doing it from the bottom up. We have to generate a whole new system of living. And we start not with this generation of voters but the next.
There is a passionate movement for change among some young people. Supporters of Momentum are predominantly young. Extinction Rebellion and the whole environmental protest movement around climate change has engaged a whole bunch of youth activists. But for every young person campaigning for change, there are probably at least ten who are more interested in football, fashion, sex or whatever mind-numbing technological entertainment passes for circuses to today’s teenagers. There will be others already dedicating themselves to a lifetime of climbing the corporate ladder. Those are the ones the right will be targetting, and if they get their claws into them the future electorate will be just as right wing as their parents and grandparents. If that happens, then not to put too fine a point on it, we are fucked. We’re at a tipping point environmentally as well. The natural debt of the past century or more is overdue for payment, and the cost of ignoring it is likely to be, eventually, the end of life on Earth as we know it today.
We live in a chaotic adaptive system – Boris, like Trump, is nothing if not chaotically adaptive. Us intellectual lefties are still wedded to the idea of controlling things, trying to make everyone subscribe to our happy clappy faith, but social media immerses us in the raw anarchy of chaos. There’s no real story, no real narrative, just a steaming pile of emotional outbursts resonating around the echo chambers of our networks. It’s the pirates who continually sail a warship through Myo’s search for the Fair Land, all guns blazing.
So my manifesto for change is threefold, and tries to address the influencers of the chaotic adaptive system of democratic power while we still have some semblance of it:
• Citizen empowerment
It may be a bit presumptous of me to put this forward – after all, what do I know? – but I’m getting fed up with waiting for the people who should be doing it to show any real sign that they are. As with the book, I’ll have to figure out if I try to publish through the recognised channels or self-publish, whether its worth it and if so how the hell I go about promoting it. If you want to read more, go to the post headed “Sue’s Manifesto for Change”