Is there a war on liberalism in Great Britain? With mentions of Jeremy Corbyn, or socialism, come what seems to be inevitable sneering and jeering and “lefty liberal” mockery. And it feels like the right hand is spiting the left but forgetting we’re all a part of the same body. It also feels like we’ve been here before and we’re just going around in circles. But then we are, aren’t we? Politics is transparently cyclical and without the great leveller that was the world wars will the “lefties” will have their voices heard? It seems unlikely. Voices of honesty and integrity are bland, it is only the grandstanders and the spinners that take the soapbox and only the sensational that get the headlines. The power of change is left in the hands of the many millions of non-voters, the third of Brits who are apathetic to their own lives, let alone the lives of others, and if they’re not voting now they’re not going to for the unspectacular Jeremy. Or at least that’s the fear. It is not a fear of left-wing defeat, but a fear that reality–truth, is not going to be outed. Without truth we’re just ice skating on jelly and hedonistically splaying apart our country. No one can react, grow or solve when the ground we’re building on isn’t understood. And as for change: proportional representation is never going to happen, it’s not going to be a thing, the Green Party will not be heard, JC will split their 2015 success and the environment will disappear further from the front-pages. The chinese will build their nuclear bonfires and George Osbourne will sell our integrity to whoever finds a way of finally botoxing away the distant bemusement that he can’t seem to hide from his face.
And it’s not new, it’s Thatcher, and its voices of the seventies that I hoped wouldn’t resurface. It’s emphasis placed on businessmen and women; cash-flow over humanity. It’s pretty fucking disgusting and it keeps leading to a question: what’s the point?
Today I am respecting the war dead, and living too, hopefully you can take some time out to do so also. Sometimes I think that war is so much more honest than most of life. Once you ignore the propaganda and strip it down to vital days like today, it’s stark and unambiguous; it says ‘this person is dead’, ‘this person died’ and there’s no way anyone can argue with that. But how we got to that point is through dishonesty and disrespect, trying to pull societies somewhere that we have no right to pull them; feeding voters spin to elicit legitimacy. So it’s more important than anything to respect the living and each other, to be tolerant and understand that this isn’t a competition. Life is not dog eat dog. War is not good. Fighting is not kind.
spent a month by the dockers and the Saints,
then lusted after pricey trainers in the Lanes.
Came home to the old place but no old friends,
felt old new pains start again.
Lost hope and grip and chance and love and self respect.
Pressed stop, ejected, then tore up the tape.
Bottomed-out, took baby steps and left the nest.
With prickly nerves, I lived a foot above my head.
Met people kind enough to take me as I was,
though geeks discern none – they see with no ‘because’.
My jump was higher than I honestly believed,
but I still spent a month sure I’d been deceived.
Got paid and found that nothing really ever changed.
Nearly lost the reigns and put on loads of weight.
Found myself and cried and gave the boy a hug.
Looked for reason, found a song, fell back in love.
Now I’m looking round but ought to look ahead,
’cause Google thinks it’s forty years until I’m dead.
Life is long and opportunities do not end at 16, nor 18. Grades at school represent one facet of intelligence. You are not defined by the grades you get. If you did not get the grades – honestly – you are in good company. Some of the most interesting and intelligent people I know did not get particularly good grades at school. What’s more, in the real world you often see school-intelligent people just not ‘getting’ how business and people work. Successful entrepreneurs often buck the trend of education success = business success. There are a whole load of different ways that people with different kinds of ‘intelligence’ can succeed. Do you somehow just ‘know’ how to talk to people? Do you ‘get’ what makes a good party a good party? Can you quietly understand what’s actually happening in a given situation? Do you have a gift of making a child feel safe and empowered? None of those and countless other things require you to understand trigonometry…
What schooling success is changes too. With every generation we have some Government and/or Education Secretary who attempt to change everything in the name of their own legacy. The goalposts move within the period of time it takes us to start primary school and leave secondary/further education. How we are tested changes; how we form classes changes; what we should aspire to – educationally – changes. Nothing about school is as important as who you are as a person and how you come across. Nobody is restricted in making a good first impression. And for one’s first job, a good first impression is the thing to make.
So don’t despair or feel bad in anyway about what you read on a few pieces of paper and even if you don’t feel like the you’re the person you’d love to be – you have so much time! There are so many different ways to get to a place where you’d like to be. Think back to what you were like when you started your A Levels. That first day and those nerves and look at what you’ve learned, off your own back, about the world in that time. That’s two years. Life is a lot, lot longer than two years!