Catching up on the classics is one of those things that as you flit through your twenties you start to regard with a mixture of self loathing and guilt. One Saturday night you’ll head to a party and bump into a classics knob. They’ll rhyme the detail off, drawing comparisons between Hemingway’s writing flow and the Cuban missile crisis. You’ll know that the tosser is clearly wrong but also fell slightly inadequate that you can’t quite construct an argument, as you know next to nothing about the subject. Imagine the look on Jezza Corbyn’s face during PMQ’s. Yea, that’s you right then.
Aiming to be more Cantona than Corb’s, one lacklustre Sunday I pulled a little beauty from my bookshelf. 4 days later 1984 was complete.
I’ll not spoil the plot in its entirety but as I sat on the precipice of Part 3 and wondered what was about to happen in this fucked up maze of corruption I started to think how real the book felt.
That’s not a revelation, it’s one of the reasons its hoisted up as Mr Orwell’s most famous work.
However, the thought stuck and gnawed for the next day or two until I noticed some clever Twitter folk chatting Brexit, Boris and Trident. I hadn’t really tuned in to the debate on the latter over the previous week so I had a quick read. And that’s when it hit me and the proverbial started to hit the fan.
We aren’t exactly on a parallel with Orwell’s portrait but we’re not that far off, certainly not as distant as we would like to think. I know there are grave differences. The main protagonist and his beau could never get wiped at a festival like half of the population seem to be doing at the minute. I’ll give you that.
In context though these fleeting minutes of intoxicated glory don’t really make up for the difficulty of daily life for most of those under 30. Our lives are pretty much dictated by people we will never meet who sit in large boardrooms, cruise around on luxury yachts and whose lives are filled with wanton abandon. They have no care for laws or the ‘proles’. Ils sont intouchables. Think Philip Green but nastier.
Don’t believe me, look at 2016 as the litmus test.
Most people my age are drowning in a sea of rent or mortgage payments that they really can’t afford. In London the latter often equates to a shoebox in Zone 3. We self-medicate way more than the EU average, it mightn’t be as bad as Victory Gin but it’s not far off. Mandy isn’t renowned for taste or for sustained happiness.
What’s that I hear you say? Where did all this horrid debt come from? Drugs, alcohol and shopping sprees. Not quite.
For most uni educated peeps it mainly boils down to tuition fees and the ridiculous student loans system. Last year in his final budget, to add further insult to injury Osborne ‘reformed’ the system.
By abolishing grants for those from low income families — and you thought that the Tories were a nasty bunch. All of this means that if you manage to get your hands on that shiny law degree, your dreams of working in human’s rights are likely to be side-tracked by the fact that the big corporate firms can offer you double the remuneration. Which comes in handy when paying off that £60k debt.
Without sounding like a broken record Brexit hasn’t helped either; it’s hardly beneficial for jobs, prosperity or any fucking thing really. Inward looking thought was the nirvana of Orwell’s Oceania and it feels like Boris and his crony bunch have turned Britain into a modern day equivalent. Making foreign travel and inward migration more difficult is straight out of the pages of 1984 as is the social grouping of the UK populace that the referendum campaign inevitably unleashed.
Farage may as well have stood on his soapbox and shouted (in UKIP speak obvs)
‘Let’s strip you the Great British people (Translation: the servants) of the things we don’t need (Translation: the necessities) so that you can build a stronger Britannia (Translation: destroy each other). A strong Britain of equals (Translation: White attacking Black, British on Pole, First generation immigrant on second etc).’
And then he fucked off, no doubt to somewhere hot, sunny and expensive whilst the ‘proles’ sat around trying to comprehend what this meant for their lives, some praising themselves that they had overthrown the far off enemy known as the EU, secretly delighted that Trident was around to save us all from future invasions and a North Korean flavoured nuclear apocalypse.
Not great is it?
I could go on further. Negative interest rates may be introduced — by a majority tax payer owned bank. Read that statement again. Even in the fucked up form of society that we now call home that is pretty shady even considering the bizarreness of the past month. Capitalism when they want it to be, socialism when they don’t.
There is a ray of hope though, even with all the drudge. We can reject the status quo if we really want to. The one thing that we do have is freedom. We don’t have a telescreen in every house monitoring our every movement. And even though Facebook updates every movement and London has one security camera for every 8 or 9 citizens you can always strike out of the establishments game. Read between the lines, adapt to this political malaise and challenge your Government to tackle the problems of inequality that are at the basis of all that is wrong with our society.
Rather than the dystopian nightmare that we may be headed to, if you do this we might just end 2016 better than how we started.