Words are very important to me. They are how I explain and shape the world around me, and when something happens that changes the world, or affects me deeply, I am at a loss and off-balance until I can find words that explain it to myself, and only then can I begin to get a handle on what now has to take place to enable me to function.
For several weeks now, since the General Election, I have been disturbed. To someone like me, the outcome was an utter disaster, and what’s worse, a disaster about which nothing can be done. The things that I believe, that I believe in, have been rejected by the country that I used to love, that I used to understand, in a manner that has decisively ended any hopes I have of seeing the pendulum begin to swing back in my lifetime. The people around me, who have seen five years of the Tories go by, who have seen what they have done with this country, with its people, have allowed the process to be extended, to be worsened and intensified. Have chosen hate and division over decency and compassion.
I find it hard, next to impossible, to engage with the political process any more. Nothing can be done to resist what is already being put in place, with the lying complicity of the foreign nationals who own our right-wing press, who are eager to take away every right we have, whilst ensuring that they retain all those rights and more for themselves. They are in undisturbable power for five years, and they have already demonstratned their intention to use that power to put through change that will cement that class-based, money-weighted power into permanent reign.
And the brainless who believe that the country’s problems are all down to malingerers without legs who aren’t working all hours carrying bricks up ladders are giving away their own entitlements out of a malice so obtuse that it’s staring its own arse.
And I’m trying to find something that defines this feeling of being ultimately lost, of being a stranger in a land where nobody speaks my language, of being at right angles to a current that’s going nowhere except to a waterfall far greater than the Victoria Falls and with less hope of survival when you hit the edge, and nothing seems to explain it. No metaphor, no simile, nothing that defines the state I, personally, am in.
Until this afternoon, sat, in all of the banal places I could have been, in the launderette. It’s The Trousers of Time. It’s Terry Pratchett, and that idea introduced in Jingo that, honestly, I’ve never felt was correct for Discworld, because I’ve always instinctively read it as a Robert Rankin concept.
But the Trousers of Time it is. Not Earth-2, that concept that has tantalised and fascinated me since I discovered it in 1966, and which I use constantly. Because the Trousers of Time are so succinct and definitive. It’s an either/or: the world bifurcates like a pair of pants, and the world goes hurtling down one leg but you, you poor bastard, go hurtling down the other.
I’m in the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time. In the other leg, the opinion polls were right, it was crucially tight, but the votes fell out sufficiently well to turf the evil, selfish, divisive, plundering Tory bastards out, and we began to apply ourselves to policies intended to heal and mend, to benefit and uplift, to put money in pockets other than Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay Brothers, and that’s the leg I’m meant to be in, because that’s the world I am tuned to, but instead I’ve gone down the wrong leg, and I’m here and now and stuck until I die.
Words are very important to me. It’s important to understand, to define, to be aware. It doesn’t make it any better though.