Sunday, May 08, 2005

England is still Blairy. The Blog must go on till he's gone.

The election has come and gone. The local school head has resigned. But that is all that has changed. Mr Blair remains as Prime Minister. The head is still in place and has made no apology for her mismanagement of relationships with parents.
I have decided to continue with this web-log until Blair has resigned and the head has accepted her mistakes. So it is, that after a pause in the lovely spring sunshine I am going back to work.
Yesterday I went with G to Birmingham. It was a study day there for SATS examiners. It is a great relief to see G energetically engaged with the working world again, after a very extended period of recovery from the break down she suffered in the face of an overwhelming teaching situation in Surrey.

I had not realised that G has been an assistant chief examiner, or that she was one of the first SATS Shakespeare exam writers. She shared with me that she now believes it was wrong to co-operate with the Government in writing tests which have only served to alienate teachers and pupils alike from learning about Shakespeare. At the time she believed that it was the only way to ensure Shakespeare continued to be taught in schools. Yes, the Thatcher-Blair approach to education is that bad!

I had a wonderful day on my own; my first in the second city for about forty years. The place is unrecognisable. The Jacob Epstein sculpture I loved so much is no longer on show in the art gallery, but there are others I did not see when I came before. His Lucifer is a winged angel tormented by a band that constricts his torso beyond endurance. It is torture to look at this distorted figure, otherwise so well formed, with such beautiful wings. The outdoor city centre is now filled with sculptures. Very modern sphinxes guard the corners of the square. Anthony Gormley has contributed. But Birmingham’s figure does not appear to be an angel. It is wingless, and almost armless, looking like a clothes-peg man, with his poor feet hammered into the pavement. A large female nude bathes in the central fountain, which cascades to a pool below, in which a second and smaller female sits contemplating. Above, on the edge of a commercial amenity building, a big crowd of young Goths had assembled. I walked down Broad Street with some of them, and we were accosted by Jesus freaks with their “good news” pamphlets. I expect you would prefer the other place, I suggested. They agreed. I am happy to say that a little further on from these sad desperados with their aggressive message that they alone know how to reach God, or the devil, I came across a very joyous sound of a Hare Krishna group. It was a little piece of heaven to sing or clap and dance with them in the street, as the cold north wind tossed dust in our eyes, and incense into our nostrils. They were devotees of Vishnu, someone said, but my Shaivism was fine too, as far as they were concerned.
A bit further on, I was more or less blown away by the awesome power of the main God of this place. On Saturday afternoon most people are out worshipping Mammon. He has no statue, but they have had the most amazing temple built by Saint Selfridges. At the equivalent of a high altar, a group of people were sipping their own version of communion wine. They call it Veuve Cliquot. It is wine, but more exciting, more intoxicating, than normal wine, and much more expensive, though no priest has transformed it into blood. Only those favoured by Laxmi, Goddess of wealth, can partake. They have machines in there, which can play or store all the music you ever wanted to hear in a tiny little box.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all was the exhibition in the millennium square. I have seen many of the pictures before. They are photos of our world from the air. What seized my imagination was the huge world map on the pavement, which I was allowed to wander over in my shoeless feet. I could take in the empires of Genghis Khan, Caligula, Alexander and George W Bush almost at the same time. So many countries end in “Istan”. As the Russians retreat the Americans seem to move in. But “Dumbfuckistan,” the new American States conglomerate where Bush rules, is not yet officially marked on this map. Maybe they will call it “Jesus land” instead.
One of the things I learned in the election campaign is that an alternative “United States of Canada” ruled by democrats rather than the little emperor who has taken over the old republican group is no real alternative. They were all too happy to go along with the elite consensus that thinks invading Iraq was an acceptable thing to do. Perhaps that is unfair on the Canadians. But Kerry ended up more gung-ho than Bush.
I have learned much over this election period, not all of which has yet been written down. There seems to be no left and right in politics any more. All compete for a narrow strip of centre ground. No one even discusses the way the real ground will shrink as the seas rise, if we do not get some better policies on confronting global warming. Only a few thousand people living in marginal seats really influence politicians. More people refrained from voting once again than voted for this Government.
There is something called an "elite consensus" in Britain and America. The media and the parliaments are all controlled by this oligarchy. We, the people, do not count. Only the internet can help us make a difference. The web log is the only free medium till the bad guys find a way to censor it. Through the web a vast collection of people like you and me can communicate about the real needs of the planet and provide pressure groups to make the necessary changes.
We all need to change the way we live. It is an ecological imperative. Our present political masters are seriously corrupt and unlikely to face up to these challenges. The rich grow richer, the poor go to the wall. The Christians in Jesus Land are keen to speed up the coming of Armageddon and their Rapture. The Middle East contorts itself ever more deeply into pain.