Thursday, 14 June 2018

Major Minor? A work in progress.

As the UK drifts aimlessly, ever further out into the Atlantic, I was given to consider the potential ideological 'adjustments'- either imagined or engineered- that might soon come to redefine our
societal and political idea of what actually constitutes a 'minority.' Numbering unfavourably within an identified or stipulated 'minority' may well be perceived to be any of all things to any of all people. Given that we are all human the wonder- wonder is not quite the coverall word- is that there are so very many!

Should we search hard and honestly enough then I would seriously doubt that there are any amongst us who could not apportion ourselves at least one or two societal 'minority' labels, deserved or otherwise. But then, that's very much the gist of what I'm attempting to explore here; there are those 'minorities' who might consider themselves superior, and there are those who might find themselves deemed somehow inferior. There are those who are currently comfortably, and relatively-safely neutral, and there are those who might consider themselves to be threatened. There are those that might judge themselves to be superior whilst being considered by others to be  inferior, or conceivably vice versa. Some minorities may slot comfortably, almost invisibly, between the other majorities, whereas others are more likely to be driven to consolidate their minoritiness amongst others of a similar minoritiness. There are minority labels that might be proudly worn as a badge, and there are others that might perhaps be carried as a curse!

For myself, I would allocate several 'minority' labels, a number of them perhaps traceable back to the fact that I have always, in adulthood, considered myself to be a socialist. And, while this label does not necessarily afford me access to all of those other variable minority groups, it does perhaps afford me a kind of 'get out of jail' card, should anyone attempt to lump me wholly into any of those other groups- minority or majority- that I might find rather more itchy to be associated with, or so I like to think?

So, I can perhaps dissociated myself from, for example, ostensibly-white, passive-institutionalised racist gatherings that might occur within certain families. Or I can argue and upset the hosts, which is sometimes preferable. Either way, I'm 'out of jail!' Maybe.

It might be argued that, ideally, we should all just work harder at breaking down those societal barriers that currently help to define what is and what is not a 'minority.' But this 'argument' is, of course, currently and far too often just so much wasted oxygen, newsprint, cyberspace or whatever, because, as we all know, there are still those more-specific societal barriers which have been knowingly and aggressively built into our society, built up, shored-up and buttressed over the centuries, to define where we are now, which is most definitely... not any form of acceptable society! We could, and so we should, do our bit, but our's is not yet where the necessary clout lies.

So instead, in order to properly respect and to preserve the identity of certain more worthy minorities, it will still prove necessary to 'iron out' other less desirable groups, both minority and majority, if we are ever to aspire to any sort of cohesive societiness.

One other minority label which I wore for so long that I sometimes find it to be perceived by others as still being there, even though it most certainly no longer applies, is that of 'vegetarian.' Following several decades of abstinence I finally relinquished this label whilst travelling through a handful of Africa's southern countries. It was, with some encouragement, considered that I should again partake of fish, as any wider-ranging national concept of 'vegetarianism' was initially unknown. I really needn't have buckled, but the break was anyway made. Further, I have since and again partaken of other meats, although time had already effectively driven a wedge between us.

I now find that I no longer actually like the taste of flesh, excepting that of well disguised, fried fish. As with other waverers, bacon I think I just might like, but the thought of further pig-sourced flesh passing my lips remains quite troubling to me. Thus, I invariably still eat as a vegetarian, which I am not... quite! And, I shop and dine out as one.

Restaurants today, some of them we may find, are simply bursting these days with ideas for the meat-averse-or-inclined customer. Further, eating out in the UK is no longer the worrisome venture that it once was. But, even so...

Just the other day I was shopping for something foodwise, in Marks and Spencer's food department, when I chanced upon one of the store's more revered offerings, 'Dine in for Two,' cost £10. The label so often draws me in- perhaps it's also the wine- despite it's habitual tendency towards minority discrimination. The minority in this instance being 'vegetarians!' Obviously, there will be other minorities more harshly excluded, but bear with me here...

These perhaps?
After a short search I located the solitary main course vegetarian offering, nestled amongst the familiar vast array of weighty meat-based alternatives. I plucked it out and held the lonely item betwixt two fingers- it was quite bereft of weight, just four thinly rolled spinachy sausages- glancing down to the various meats on offer, and ultimately to the whole generous 'roasting' chicken. And I was given to inwardly sigh! Little wonder that vegetarians often appear so undernourished! I might well have actually enjoyed the offering- it was a Marks and Spencer offering- but I just could not bring myself to condone such 'discrimination.' The item was duly returned to its shelf. Solidarity, I thought! I doubt that either Messrs Marks or Spencer noticed.

Marks and Spencer appear to have missed a trick here, as the minority that is the vegetarian also looks set to significantly increase its 'investment.' But, as for the socialists, the residual conscience of an ever-decaying morality-UK, whilst the interests would appear wonderfully ripe for a veritable explosion in numbers the media machine is currently battling over and above the 'call of duty' to ensure that profits continue to rise whilst everything else simply crumbles before our eyes! Thus the socialist looks well set for yet further targeted misrepresentation... definitely a discriminated against minority!

The size of this particular minority may, and so it should, exponentially rise to threaten even majority status but how would we ever reliably find out?

Other minorities to which I might, at times, lay claims to would, or could, be those of 'cyclist' and/or 'pedestrian.' Although I am also a motorist, which might, in certain eyes, exclude me from either of the harder-core inner- circles? Is there anything that might better define any minority than conflict with others? And there is certainly much animosity to be found where any or all of these minorities and majorities are required to share any given space.

In my capacity as a cyclist I have been forced with intent, and quite criminally, off the road. And I have been otherwise intimidated into cycling off the road, so as to ensure that 'busy' other road users might not be inconvenienced those 'costly' seconds. Of course, the impact of such intimidation rather varies, depending upon whether one feels somehow impeded or else in genuine mortal danger from, for example, the immense thundering wheels of one of the nation's more weighty vehicles. I have watched the road before me being sliced away to nothing by unconcerned or disinterested articulated-lorry drivers, who I absolutely know have clocked my presence, and I have exchanged heated words with other drivers who have then felt so aggrieved by my 'challenge' that they have additionally wasted yet further seconds by turning their vehicle around, simply to attempt another unseating.

Or these?
As a cyclist there are certainly times when the ability to swiftly detour 'off road' might be significantly preferable to this kind of additional conflict 'on road.'

Successive governments have continued to massively favour the motorist- sometimes seemingly any motorist far beyond even the next horizon- over any pedestrian hoping soon to cross any road. And, at least in partial consequence of several recent and ongoing changes, we now often have cyclists resorting to substituting pavement for road. Pedestrians and cyclists vying for dominion in an ever-more-populated arena, or so it often seems, whilst the motorist pays ever more handsomely for a seat at the high table! The clue ultimately is in the paying!

With an eye to greater clarity, whilst the above may, at worst, constitute justifiable annoyances- excepting those rarer truck and van-driver moments- few are so troubling as to warrant any sort of organised march upon parliament. There are already far more than enough of these queueing up for attention!

One might just as 'reasonably' curse the fact that one resides in a hard water region, or that it has been several years since it was possible to build a snowman, or conceivably a snowwoman, in one's back garden. Even our location, it would appear, has conspired to set us apart, but then are these not some of the joys of travel, to thrust one's hand into softer, flowing water, or to peer from the bedroom window onto a freshly fallen carpet of pristine snow?

Far better, and far less ironic, to seriously consider the nation's festering racial tensions, those of immigrant status versus those self-appointedly and 'more deserving' Anglo-Saxon types, or the UDP versus the open-minded? Maybe also the simmering class issues that are still clearly evident within and about tower blocks such as Grenfell? The divisions thread their ways through the social structure rather like a form of 'malevolent' human dry rot. Gender pay? Celebrity privilege versus the media's lesser mortals? Oxbridge versus those who might actually and more properly serve the electorate? Regional accents versus the queen's English? Conservationists against the 'developers?'

Or maybe these?
Religion, another one, may currently prove far more complex, often seemingly able to swim against the tide, despite the increasingly incontrovertible evidence against even its Medieval 'justification' and continued presence. Societal cohesion can only bring us closer, whereas structured division re-rationalises and reapportions our values so that all may certainly not be equally served! Ultimately, it's not about what 'the people' want/require/desire, it's far more about what one 'superior' group wishes to impose upon other 'lesser' groups.

The UK media- good riddance to Mr Dacre!- is expert at keeping a lid on things, but even this struggles with events such as Grenfell. Rest assured, however, that there are already great forces working underground to ensure that the current status quo will not be overly inconvenienced by such a significant collateral loss of life.

What Mr Dacre, 'the voice of Middle England,' was so expert at championing and at channelling was a well-honed reactionary pseudo-middle class, who often behaved as if brainwashed when the 'right' buttons were pushed. He and his types in the editing suite had long since recognised the value in channelled anger and frustration. Consider hard enough and we might almost find ourselves believing that double yellow line parking restrictions were put there to deflect from the wholesale racism evident in the manner in which (for example) the Windrush families are currently being treated. Mr Dacre would have known!

If we are to dig deeper, in order to unearth perhaps the very spinal fluids of the anti-nation, as with any organic neural network, we may easily lose our respective ways. So, it might be easier if we were first to circumnavigate the most ugly, that being the anti-nation's tendencies to lapse, during harder times, into such as racism, sexism and or class divisions. These are anyway well-documented failings! The UK may well (at least in pretence) wish to present itself as battling eternally to overcome these societal hurdles, yet it may at the very same time be devising more convoluted means to maintain the status quo. This much is known and is well documented.

So, let us instead consider those other, currently second division, minority partitionings that are even now consolidating themselves, care of our media machine, winding their divisive tendrils ever more deeply into the fabric of the UK. I suspect, what with * slavery being somewhat old hat, and other more traditional prejudices proving increasingly difficult to justify, that several twenty-first-century targeted groups have already been earmarked for 'promotion,' far more a demotion really.

These maybe?
The media, no more so than the Satanic Mr Dacre, has decreed that it should be the turn of the public sector, that it is now, and in due course, their fault that the UK is underperforming. So 'we' shall slash and burn and decry their being. If racial intolerance is so hard to justify and to maintain, it will instead be the turn of the teachers and the 'minion's' of the NHS? Is it not, at least in part, their doing that the anti-nation has fallen, is still falling? 

So, encourage now the fallacy that everyone is, care of one's tabloid, an expert in the fine art of teaching. If not an expert then at least worthy of a regurgatitive (negative) opinion? At the very least, given open license to lambaste the profession? The latter option may not quite have fully and openly manifested itself in public, but privately is where it truly matters, nestled darkly within, where the media may have slowly charred the soul.

Balance that, if you can! 'Turn your talents to shiny teaching...' and almost instantly feel and observe the lustre losing its sheen! Instead, feel the tax-'hyper-aware' public resentment, as austerity bites! The eternal pay freeze that will again and again, and as if through alchemy, lubricate the economic recovery!

But, in the race to the bottom few if any are so ideally placed as the developers. 'Carters Cutting Corners Quicker!' Or quite conceivably 'Cwicker?' There you go Mr Carter, or whoever, that one's on me, your very own TV jingle in the making! Of course, it's not just Carters, every developer with an eye, or half an eye, to the 'investment' sector will need to wrestle with yet more ingenious means to reducing the sizes of those matchboxes. Does that toilet roll dispenser actually need to be inside the door? If the bedroom door opens outwards, does it matter if said room is barely bigger than the bed? Surely this cladding is cheaper, shhh! With all the 'right sorts' in The Commons we can surely ease these process a touch further?

Or simply these?
The landlords versus the tenants? Another case of the minority subjugating the majority! So those investment homes are racing to change the UK skyline. The BBC, I think, devotes far more time now to selling the concept than it does to questioning the state of Britain's housing market; it surely is now slowly devouring its own tail! 'Homes Under the Hammer,' but do be careful, deregulation's made them just that shade more fragile... and smaller... and meaner... and more expensive... and less safe!

I blame the Fire Brigade, for not reacting to those depleting regulations fast enough. And, has anyone yet reasoned that with fewer tower blocks to 'protect' we might get away with fewer fire fighting resources?

Whatever the minority- it's numerically more 'beneficial,' these days, to go with a majority- the aim is first to objectify, then it's likely free-wheeling... until we hit one of those damned potholes! Dacre's off and Murdoch's not long for this world, we must hope, but watch and listen to the news- who's being celebrated, who's being knighted for services unknown? Which group are they in? And, once we've identified the buggers, that's where the ironing needs to start... nice and hot, please!

So long, Mr Dacre, champion of the 'we worked hard and paid in all of our lives' generation, your work here is done!

* Of interest and some alarm, during a recent family dinner, the subject of slavery came up. Even here (family) one might have been forgiven for considering the slavery debate, actual slavery!, to have been won and thus closed... but no! Instead, it was argued that slavery had, at least at one time, been entirely acceptable, instead that the debate had been reframed(?) The guilty party has worked, occasionally, upon a building site, cash in hand! And we feign shock horror when our news channel informs us that modern-day slavery is on the rise!

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