Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Flowers in the dirt

So what to say about the last few weeks (if there's anyone out there who's actually followed this blog)?
First things first: I have no specific links to stories for this post; inattention allied to a strange period of online inactivity for me.
The most striking thing about this month has been found in nature. Since climate change was established by the scientific world, I've been conscious of the changing seasons in an almost assiduous manner. As children we're acutely aware of dark winter afternoons, the changing of the clocks, the first warm embrace of spring & other such natural phenomena. As adults in the early 21st Century, there is no excuse for not rediscovering that innate awareness. Cheap air flights get cheaper. However, writing as one who believes that people don't forget lessons when they're delivered the hard way, it seems obvious that those who take their families to holidays across oceans with no qualms may well live to see their children reap the whirlwind of irreversible climate change.

There was an anniversary on April 15th which made me stop to remember. It was the 16th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. I was on the terrace behind the Leppings Lane goal that awful afternoon; I witnessed scenes I'll carry to the grave with me. For some months after the event I struggled to come to terms with what I'd seen. Perhaps that struggle continues.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy.....

The collision of lofty ideals & low life reality which has permeated Merseyside since Liverpool won the Capital of Culture award ( a horrendous car crash of a conjunction partly fostered, partly ignored by the local media ) hit home today with the news that the BNP are to field a candidate in the ward covering the area where Anthony Walker was murdered in a racist attack every bit as sickening in its detail as the Stephen Lawrence case in 1993 (,,1746862,00.html ).
The area of Huyton is similar in many ways to my own part of Merseyside. A run-down inner-city area which is overwhelmingly white, its composition increasingly changing from industrial working class to part-time, casual workforce, lumpen in its attitudes on race, gender & sexuality. It's the sort of area where Labour has been continually in the ascendancy, though largely through default & semi-forgotten family/tribal allegiances. Lest anyone think I'm exaggerating in this portrait, I 'll tell you of my own experiences (after all, I.V. Lenin did say that an once of experience is worth a ton of theory ). Most of the people I work with revel in a sub-culture of trivia, junk media & purience, women as well as men. Casual racism is expressed in a manner which suggests it is as acceptable as comments on the weather; grumblings about management decisions which adversely affect them result not in a sudden awakening of class consciousness, but a rodent-like rush to preserve their own pathetic, miniscule patches. Makes me almost sympathetic to the bosses.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Cordon

"Sorry, you can't turn right down Hope Street," the constable said. His tone was more apologetic than authoritarian. 500 yards from the Philharmonic Hall some 2,000 people had congregated on the steps of the city's Roman Catholic cathedral. Wandering towards the cathedral, I heard Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance" sung with gusto. Christ, I thought. The baby boomers & students will make us all join hands next.
A march of sorts was permitted by the police, stopping just past the Everyman Theatre. Ahead of this point was a phalanx of police, their horses & riot shields augmenting the not so thin blue line. The march was led by "pallbearers", carrying a seemingly hastily constructed coffin. They also wore "Guantanamo" uniforms.
As the march ground to a halt, the mood of many changed. Most had a self-satisfied air, the ones who felt they had made their point. A couple of anarchists tried to persuade others that if we all breached the police line, it would be a great victory for the proletariat. Yeah, right.
I joined a few others in a nearby bar. There's nothing like boozing for socialism.