“We can Count on Problems we might not Necessarily Come in Contact with.”
Following the recent parliamentary vote rejecting Harriet Harman’s proposed amendment to our Notification of Withdrawal Bill; Article 50 is now almost certainly going to come into effect on March 2nd. The proposed amendment read:
“Nothing in this Act shall affect the continuation of those residence rights enjoyed by EU citizens lawfully resident in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016, under or by virtue of Directive 2004/38/EC, after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.”
A democracy-crippling 332 Members of Parliament decided that this is not what either they or the public wanted, perhaps these are the kind of issues that deserve some kind of… referenda? By not letting the populous have a voice in how Brexit is enacted, just on whether it is enacted our government has taken the most gigantic, foul-smelling, steaming, giant (yes, again), turd on our democracy. Imagine if I asked a group of Muslims and Jews (presumably I’m prowling down the Gaza Strip on some wild night out) to vote on what we all have for dinner, and BBQ wins — so I empirically decide that all that’s going to be cooked on the BBQ is hotdogs. No one wins, no one is happy, everyone is hungry, but I still get to say I gave the people what they asked for.
The obvious solution to this disparity of power and the devaluation of foreign human-life is to start yet another online petition. These days we have a petition for almost everything a few of the more popular ones are listed below:
· A petition to try and prevent Trump having a state visit.
· A petition to ensure Trump has a state visit.
· A petition to close all retail outlets on Boxing Day
· A petition to give Police dogs and horses the status of “Police Officer”
· A petition to cap car insurance at £1,200.00
· A petition to ban fireworks.
Each of those petitions are still current (please don’t stop reading this to support enforced animal labour) and have an excess of 100,000 signatures, meaning that they will be debated in Parliament. Clearly the epitome of our democracy is having 650 people discuss the views of an isolated, myopic 100,000 other people — to which another 100,000 people can voice an alternate view which will still be debated by the original 650. This result of which is a highly-efficient government, which takes just nine months to pass enact the results of a referendum and 20 days for a Prime Minister to resign. One truly revolutionary trait of the online petition is the way that we can now protest for the things which are already going to happen like the State visit of Old Donny Trumps. It leaves me challenging myself over what “protest” means, and then eventually into a chasm of despair as I internally debate whether philosophy and etymology are essentially synonymous. I digress, the most beautiful aspect of using online petitions is that Google Chrome has all my personal information stored in it — so really it takes just one click of my mouse I’ve done my part to change the world; and I won’t have to cry myself to sleep again tonight because now Daddy will really be proud of me!
The hyperbolic emotions that come attached in the form of a status or tweet to so many petitions that are shared on social media can easily act as guide to the unbalanced, heavily biased opinion that forms the entirety of that petition. Perhaps my own cynical personality precludes me from joining this form of political activism, or perhaps I’m too intelligent/arrogant/proud/doubtful to wholly agree with someone else’s opinion, or perhaps there’s another reason entirely. Regardless of the subjective justification; the objective truth is that there’s this underlying trait in most (if not all) of us, that views the rest of society as different to those in our immediate vicinity. As if 99% of humanity hasn’t quite made the step-up from just eating, over-procreating and then dying; into a species that has the capacity for compassion and intellectual reasoning.
On February 8th, Channel 4’s creatively-named television show, The Channel 4 News, decided to air a Jeremey Kyle-esque feature on the “alt right” featuring two loudmouthed idiots and one former-journalist-come-TV-host Krishnan Guru-Murthy (Guru by name, definitely not by nature). Rather than covering newsworthy stories (e.g the day’s events); we were given a rare glimpse of different viewpoint than the centre-right media has continuously spewed out since 1997, only for it to be the view of the far-right. Krishnan must have some weird-ass kitchen scales at home if he believes that is the way to add balance a political debate. The only saving-grace was that it wasn’t on the BBC, which always leaves me with the feeling like my television license should have come with a complimentary teaspoon, so I could at least gouge my fucking eyes out.
One can’t help but be subjected to the media fanfare of divisive opinions, but perhaps in an age of “alternative facts” and dwindling populous power, using emotionally evocative issues is the only way the media can get people to care enough to do anything, regardless of how petulant, idiotic or insignificant it may be. While it’s fairly easy to feel drowned in the deluge of shit that our modern-day society may well be: there is validity in the argument that this corrupt political system does work to improve the world!
For me, the most poignant of examples is the environment. Clearly there isn’t a whole lot of hope for us a species if we can’t stop ourselves from turning the planet we live on into an uninhabited rock. Throughout my entire life humanity is doing far better at not destroying life as we know it, but that’s never been the headline in the papers. One of the earliest concerns for our environment, in my living memory, was the destruction of the ozone layer through CFCs. Then we had tirade of panic over greenhouse gases and global warming, before the impending doom of rising sea levels and mega storms captured our imagination.
To say humans have not irreparably damaged some parts of our environment would be ignorant. If we look at the hole in the ozone layer above New Zealand and the increased rate of skin cancer in New Zealand; we should be able to say that we “done goofed”! Nevertheless because most of us (well America) started freaking out that they weren’t going to be able to use refrigerators or air conditioners anymore, the businesses manufacturing those products started freaking out that they wouldn’t be able to sell them anymore. That fear of poverty inspired the research that led to the use of hydrochloroflurocarbons (or some shit) as refrigerants, which means we are not damaging the ozone layer anymore. In the same vein the big oil companies of today are investing billions of dollars into the research of renewable energy (BP, alone, has invested over $8 billion). They’re not doing it because it will make the planet a better place, they’re doing it because once the oil dries up what are they going to live on?
This implies that media-hysteria surrounding current events has been going on for a long time, and this must be the case if we’re going to solve any of the problems our species faces. Even in regards to disparity in economic circumstances, the notion most of us have is completely false. The adage goes “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, or if you’re F. Scott Fitzgerald “The rich get richer and the poor get children.”. Yet, even as our over-populated world gets ever more crowded*, the statistics for those living in extreme poverty has dropped from over 43% (of the world’s population) in 1990, to 20.3% in 2011. This roughly equates to 700 million fewer people living in extreme poverty in a period where the world population grew by over 1.8 billion. Speaking of that 1.8 billion people, where did they all go? Pretty much nowhere. According to the UN, in 1990 there were 154 million migrants, in 2013 there were 232 million. Those figures are worldwide figures, and they probably overstate the increase in migration due to the dissolution of the USSR in 1992.
*The rate of population growth (worldwide) has been steadily declining since 1968, but don’t let that keep you spouting off your ignorance.
Obviously, this is all nonsense because you can see girls in your town wearing hijabs. Your television keeps playing the-most-powerful-man-in-the-world’s soundbites. You still see people begging in shop doorways. Every opinion in the media is propaganda. A second Polish deli has opened up, and worst of all this Summer didn’t have the weather you’d hoped for. Well, yeah then, the world is a piece of shit, but on the bright side you probably suffer from object impermanence so you’ll forget about all those issues as soon as you’re shut away inside your dimly-lit room, Little Boy.