Lesser Calamities

Abuse of power comes as no surprise. A vigil held for Sarah Everard, where Kate Duchess of Cambridge was seen attending and paying respects, a largely peaceful, masked and social-distanced assembly, was met later by heavy-handed escalation from the Met, who trampled flowers and tributes, used excessive force, kettled, manhandled and arrested women who were there that day because a policeman abducted and murdered a woman. Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball afterwards claimed, in the language of the abuser, we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety. Safety from what? Last year’s global BLM demonstrations didn’t lead to spikes in COVID spread. The government is clamping down on our freedom to organise and protest its corruption and injustice. Before our eyes, the erosion of civil liberties in ways that will be almost impossible to claw back (1).

The UK slips into dictatorship. The establishment is looking for a fight. Faster! Faster! Move back for your own safety! shouts the police handler advancing with his barking dog. Safety from what? Nationwide demonstrations against draconian new controls faced the same pattern of police brutality and calculated misrepresentation in the media. Chants of You are attacking us! Chants of Who do you protect? Who do you serve? Clearly they do not turn this force on us for our wellbeing. They are mocking us. Patel said she was disgusted by the violence directed towards the police and she’s in no doubt that the silent, law-abiding majority will be appalled by the actions of this criminal minority. Notable that the foremost quality of this so-called majority is silence.

The Met deems police violence appropriate and proportionate. The government’s race commission finds the UK an exemplar of racial equality. Jolly good then. The prime minister is under pressure from his party to resist an excess of caution, but protect Churchill at all costs! Why are they making this about statues now? Painting fictional threats. Painting Downing Street blue, like they won’t be leaving anytime soon. Intentionally cleaving the country in two, with most of the youth and the truth on the opposing side. Is it a winning strategy? Strictly only in the short-term. The flag-shaggers shag their union flags while the union crumbles, while the normal people look on distressed at the total absence of conscience, of reality, at the nihilism overwhelming it all, the power of the desire to live in a fantasy of progress rather than addressing continuing issues (2). What realistic hope is there of meaningful change?

Drowned out by the noise are all the things that really matter. Capitalism and greed. Vaccine nationalism. Competition to the death. Europe is fucking up public trust in vaccine rollouts, the global south not even getting vaccine supplies because we’re hoarding them all along with the patents. America comes out of lockdown with multiple mass shootings in a week. Biden’s new NASA chief climate change advisor has made clear that even with aggressive emissions reductions we should be prepared for global warming levels that will likely wipe out half of Earth’s species and threaten the lives of billions of people this century. No one wants to see this happen. None of us can afford for it to happen. So what do we do? We were born from the plants. We are here on Earth primarily to fertilise soil. Our primary future vision must be to rewilding. Stabilising and thriving, or collapsing and dying and returning to humus. The end for us, it’s not so sad. Perhaps there’s no evolution without extinction. But we won’t be there, we won’t be witness, but life will go on.

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(1) Gina Miller

(2) Kehinde Andrews

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