When I was a mere mini-freak, my father was a coal miner and a Labour supporter right up until Neil Kinnock became our constituency MP. I had no idea what ‘politics’ meant because I was small and interested in toy guns and toads, but when your father is in a blistering rage and you were small in the sixties, then you had to listen in to find out what he was angry at. In case it was you. In those days, parental authority was to be respected because it held the potential to be backed up by real punishment. My father worked the coal face at the mine. He didn’t need to hit us. He only needed to look as though he might, and we would take the matter no further. I can only recall one smacking and me and my brother had done something really, really bad. Mother used to smack us but she was only little and it didn’t hurt.
It wasn’t me he was annoyed at this time. It was a bigger ginger bloke than me with a bigger nose and a shoutier voice. My father knew him from the past, apparently, and was, shall we say, less than impressed. Many words were heard, words that really should only have been heard echoing around a coal mine when they’ve dug the wrong way. I don’t think he’s voted since, but we don’t talk politics. There are much more interesting and important matters in the world.
Even after the rudder-nosed one took office, my father still went to the local workingmen’s club, which was called ‘The Progressive’, because it had the cheapest beer. This was referred to as ‘The Prog’ by its inmates and has just one claim to fame. When Tom Jones was just starting out, he landed a gig at the Prog and was paid off before the end of his first set. All that hipswinging and shouting was not for them, and he was told he would never work in that club again. To this day, he never has. When the Prog management make a decision, it’s binding. Just think, if he hadn’t blown it, he could be earning as much as ten pounds a night now.
At the tender age of dirtiface and nosepick, the word ‘progressive’ had no meaning beyond being the name of the place Dad came home from cheerfully plastered. As I grew through the ages of girlogle and acne, into the adulthood of workyabugger and paytax, I have begun to wonder what it means. There is a strict dictionary definition, it is a derivation of the word ‘progress’ which means, in simple terms, to move in a direction.
Not necessarily a physical direction. If I were to take up chess, I’d be crap because I haven’t played more than five games since school. If I practised and studied the game, I could potentially actually win one. I could say I had made progress. (Another digression: We found, early on, that airgun chess was a much more fun game, quicker, with more action and no dispute about whether a piece should be regarded as ‘taken’. So I’d have to relearn the rules of the game if I took it up now).
However, where Socialism is concerned, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the word ‘progressive’ has no meaning at all and never has. It is, like so many of the utterances that spew forth from the mouths without minds, just a noise in the air. It has as much real meaning as the wind whistling through a leaky window.
Yet they ascribe meaning to it. Deep meaning. They think that when they introduce another step into the Dark Ages, that’s progress. Well, of a sort, I suppose, but we have generally regarded ‘progress’ as meaning things getting better, not worse. Like the discovery of antibiotics. That was progress. It made a lot of incurable things curable. The overuse of antibiotics leading to hospitals being full of bacteria resistant to antibiotics was not progress. The medical profession pretending it was all caused by farms was nothing short of wooga-wooga medicine man talk.
Maybe they are progressing towards some hideous goal, just in the opposite direction to common sense. There are those at the top who know what they are doing, they are clever and evil, but they are backed up by a huge army of idiots who have no idea what’s going on. Idiots who parrot what they are told without a single thought in their heads. More and more of those idiots are reaching positions of influence now.
This was becoming clear in science in the late seventies/early eighties when I was an undergraduate. By the time I reached PhD level, a professor had taken the head of department job even though he really didn’t want it. Doesn’t make sense, does it? It does when you consider that a real scientist doesn’t want promotion. A real scientist wants to stay in the lab and do some science. Money and prestige are not motivations for real scientists. The only motivations are ‘Ooo, look at that’ and ‘I wonder how that works?’ There are a few left but their numbers are declining due to ‘progress’.
For years, the scientists had booted the useless and the politically motivated out of the labs and into management roles. They reasoned, as scientists are wont to do, it being their job and all, that these bloody wasters would do less harm shuffling paper than messing with dangerous things. They were wrong, and that professor saw it. Sure, the scientists in the lab were intelligent and dedicated but those in charge were politically motivated morons. They soon started to make decisions on who should be employed in the lab, and what projects should run. That professor retired years ago and he was a mental wreck by the time they’d finished with him.
It’s not much different in politics. I don’t want to be an MP, I can find much more interesting things to do. I don’t want two homes and a chauffeur and an armed bodyguard and sycophants are just going to get hit with something spiky and I will not listen to the Whitehall mandarins and I do not respond well to psychological tricks because I recognise them and they annoy me.
One that seems prevalent in supermarkets is the slow advance. The git behind you in the queue will take small steps forward to push you into getting out of the way faster. Well, okay, it’s fun on one level. I mean, I’m not much to look at but I can look at you as if you’re lunch and I have the teeth to back it up. American dental perfection? You can keep it. I have fangs.
As soon as I see the game begin, my pack rate slows. I have been known to take everything out of a bag and repack it. Amateurs still don’t get it. Two women tried the slow advance on me and I decided to pay by credit card. Card in slot, they were at my shoulder, I turned to stare at them and said to the cashier “I’ll put in the number when these card thieves look away.”
Another woman, a small one, actually had no patience and appeared right next to me at the till as soon as the last whisky bottle went through. I smiled a gentle smile at the cashier (one that doesn’t show teeth) and said “This young lady seems to want to pay for my purchases.” She backed off fast.
I don’t see any need to show mercy to the drones. They will fall for any old crap. Might as well be crap I’ve made up. The socialists see them as cattle, I see them only as idiots.
Shameless? Why not? In recent years I have realised that shame and guilt are mere constructs,easily discarded, and not part of human nature at all. I am no victim. I refuse to be a victim. I’m just this guy, you know?
In the smoky world, one of the drones is Googling his own name and finding blogs that insult him. He will get no attention here. He thinks he is a mover and shaker but his mind is a drone mind, unmovable and not worth trying to engage with. All he wants is attention. It’s sad, but I have no concept of mercy so my teeth are bared. He’ll have to Google Sillly Arse to find his mention here.
His idea of progress is to change packs of cigarettes that are not legal to sell to under -18s and also hidden behind doors so that they do not visually appeal to the young. That’s like painting all coal white before it’s brought out of the mine so it doesn’t offend racial sensitivities. Oh, why did I say that? It’s just a matter of time now, isn’t it?
I used to have a Count Duckula DVD with flashing LEDs on the cover. I like old cartoons, they used to be free from politics and have more connection with reality that any modern politician could ever manage. So if there was a pack of Rothmans with a flashy light on the box, why would it matter if it is hidden behind big doors marked ‘Addict Filth Supplies’? Ah but you cannot stop at the point of hiding all the stuff because then Progess has ended. There must be more Progress so the hidden stuff must not look like stuff. There is no end. There can be no end, only more Progress.
The drones are locked into this. There must always be progress because they are progressive, but there can never be an end point because that means there is no more progress and then they will not be progressive and will lose all identity. They cannot separate identity from politics.
I realise this is rambling but well, that just happens sometimes. I don’t have a firm grasp on what the deep background contains so this is a bit meandering for now.
Part of the idea of ‘progressive’ in a Socialist sense is starting to become clear.
And there is the extension of tobacco controls to sweets.
Bound to happen. It’s Progress. There can be no end to it because an end means that Progress stops. Will the drones accept it?
I was in my local Asda recently with my three children (all under 8 and so this was rare as I usually don’t take them) and when we got to the till each of them asked for a sweet from the counter. I said ‘no’ each time but of course each of them got upset and my 4 year old ended up in tears. So yes I said ‘no’ and yes I didn’t fall for the ‘impulse buy’ or ‘ pester power’ BUT I do not appreciate in the slightest the horrendous end to our shopping trip caused by Asda. So yes we should take control as all comments suggest but the supermarkets DO have a responsibility because they know whet they are doing and it isn’t acceptable to simply let them off the hook.- Paulie , Durham, 06/9/2012 10:10
Caused by ASDA? Whatever goes wrong is not your fault. You are not a useless fucker of a parent, it’s ASDA selling the things they have always sold in the way everyone else has always sold them that is to blame here.
The natural corollary: If you succeed it wasn’t you. Everything you work for belongs to everyone else and especially to those who sat on their arses and let you work.
Go on, Socialist drones. Explain how that is ‘progress’.