The world we live in is not the world we were born into. The following is an essay written by a man for whom I have the deepest of respect in all capacities; musically, artistically, professionally, as a thinker, as a peer, as a human; and someone I am grateful to call a good friend, Dom Kaddish.
In solidarity and hope, I am humbled to provide WYAZ as a platform.
The New Situation.
[Dear All, the following is overtly, and not allusively political. If you disagree with it in style or substance, come along to, for example, a punk rock show or a University class room and tell us or someone else why. In other words, use every available opportunity to keep up the impetus for a new grass roots progressive politics to emerge in the UK and elsewhere post-23 June 2016. It is necessary but not sufficient for us to discuss such things through the Internet. We also need to make them count in building a better society, through our actions and words in the spaces where we actually commit our bodies].
Yesterday, 1 July 2016, the Conservative party in the UK attempted to assure us that politics in the UK is ‘back to business’ in the wake of Brexit. A Mr. Gove invoked further deluded promises about the NHS, when discretion suggested this was a thing best avoided. A Mrs. May invoked her talents as a hard worker, as well as her gender (this last point being important in the context of the obnoxious ‘boy’s club’ that led to Brexit, but Mrs May’s party is attempting to cash in on it in a way that superficially emulates but actually runs counter to the progressive female strand of politics running through, say, Holyrood).
None of this can stand: we simply cannot allow the elite of the Conservative party to try to convince us that they are operating on the basis of a post-Brexit consensus, and that they have our interests at heart in any way at all. We cannot allow politics to return to a state of unscrutinised Tory-led ‘management’. Doing so will only validate what has always been at the heart of the Tory party: upstairs privilege over downstairs servitude.
Instead of building a consensus and helping the people of the UK, the Conservative party has perpetrated an act of unparalleled violence against the social ontology of the UK in the lead up to, and in the wake of, the referendum of 23 June 2016. That is, they have effected a shift in the way that every entity related to the entity ‘the UK’ relates to every other entity related to this entity. They have done it by instrumentalising a mode of politics (the either/or referendum) that was always too crude to deal with the complexities of this ontology, and the consequence of this is that neighbours, words, glances, embraces, sighs, stares, handshakes, schools, immigrants, jobs, friends, taxis, hopes, fears, pensions, pounds and Euros (etc., etc., ad infinitum) no longer relate in the same way as before.
Given this violence, attempts to move on are appropriate. These include: humour; changing the topic of conversation; smiling a bit more; feeling a bit more driven to think, write or feel something; being warmer and more open to people who don’t look and think like you; wanting to strive for a better and more tolerant society that doesn’t condone or cynically instrumentalise racism, etc., etc. These attempts to move on are not attempts to move backwards. On the contrary, attempts to move backwards are, by definition, ‘conservative’, and if there is one entity that events since 23 June have comprehensively destroyed, it is the party that bears that name.
There can be no ‘business as usual’ on behalf of the Conservative party because there is no Conservative party. Instead, the convulsing psychotic ghost that persists in the wake of that party has no consensus, no mandate, and no real vision at all, and this makes it a deeply dangerous, reactionary, and volatile force (witness May’s party’s instrumentalisation of the female card, one of the few apparently progressive moves that was left to it). That said, it also makes it a potentially weak and waning force, provided we, the progressive and internationalist forces in the game, play our cards right, and cease to be so haunted.
There can be no business as usual in the wake of 23 June, in whatever sense (as resigned, as alienated, as disenfranchised, as relieved, as whatever). We have to lay claim to our changed social ontology and recognise that the Conservative party and the hideous forces they have recently colluded with can have no real part to play in it, provided that we have the courage to exorcise them. We have to do our business differently, by not giving up and accepting Conservative attempts to manage what they have conjured. Much more is possible than that for progressive, tolerant, and socially just reform of all sorts of entities, including, but not limited to: the EU, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the age divide, racism, the North/South divide, the European sense of self and other.
Let’s resolve to be socially responsible and just citizens in a time of spectres.
Kaddish released “Thick Letters To Friends” in 2014. Their new LP will be released soon.