Theresa May is disintegrating. She very dearly needs to make Brexit work and, at the moment, all signs seem to point to it being an utter disaster. Just in the past couple of days we’ve been greeted with the news of two major European agencies relocating away from London and taking a great number of highly skilled well paying jobs with them and that the International Court of Justice will be lacking a British presence going forward for the first time in over seventy years.
The thing that I find the hardest to grapple with is the notion of imperialism or whatever it is. There are those, who seemingly voted for Brexit, who insist that the UK has a bigger voice on the world stage than it actually does. And that voice has come down with a serious case of laryngitis since June 2016. Quitting the EU has made us all the more irrelevant. We’ve given the other countries a very valid excuse not to care about us.
But don’t fear, it’s not all doom and gloom today. Theresa, for what would seem to be the first time in her beleaguered premiership, has caught a lucky break. The chosen one has finally entered the world. You seem puzzled, have you somehow missed this absolutely incredible but actually true story? It’s like you don’t pay attention to the news or something.
Anyway, a baby hath been born with an amazing immune system. Held within its blood are natural antibodies for all sorts of diseases and indeed cancers. It’s a superhuman miracle that the parents obviously couldn’t be trusted with so the infant has been taken into special keeping. So, for the low and reasonable price of an excellent trade deal with the UK, this child can be yours. Think of all the lucrative vaccines you could manufacture having harvested its miracle blood. What violation of human rights?
I didn’t especially want to write about the embattled Zimbabwe (for the time being at least) president. I just don’t really know enough about the subject (I know you’re not remotely fussed about my process. How the sausage is made has nothing to do with the enjoyment, or otherwise, of the product) – I wanted to slag off the royals in spite of the income they inexplicably bring into the country. I mean, they’d still contribute the economy as a rich family even if they weren’t crowned by God.
Anyhow, even with my limited knowledge of the man, I’m not surprised that folk are fed up with the overbearing ways of Robert Mugabe. Forget about installing people into power without the slightest regard of their credentials, humanity or total lack thereof. If there was corruption (this is what I mean when I say I don’t know a lot about it. I bet there was but I just can’t say for sure), that’s the least of anyone’s worries.
Mugabe’s greatest abuse of power actually turned out to be something rather different. He spied on a hell of a lot of people. It wasn’t out of anything as obvious as paranoia or even just keeping tabs on potential enemies (there actually is a difference in motivation between the two, who’d have thought?). There was a surprisingly innocent motive.
That doesn’t redeem the man or the activity of course, in fact it might make him seem all the more insidious depending on what you make of the news. He was always quite a big fan of The Sims and reality television. The surveillance he managed to get his mitts on was merely his own large scale window into the lives of ordinary people. It was when he wanted to start manipulating events that he went altogether too far. Clearly, he’s got to go.
Oh the endless debates in the 2010s, the ethical concerns and moral implications of letting artificial intelligences take over mundane tasks. After all, plenty of hapless drivers would plough into innocent bystanders, albeit by accident. Did it really make so much of a difference if a machine calculated that it was in the service of the greater good for it to do the same? Do a few extra lives lost really need to stand in the way of comfort?
So, we girded our loins and dispensed with our scruples. Admittedly, an awful lot of testing had to take place before driverless cars could be truly let loose on the markets. It all depended on what the passenger would be comfortable with. Some needed the security of having an entity to criticise so a niche brand of slightly shonkier machines had to be rolled out. They even installed a voice of choice to patiently endure the barrage of ‘helpful’ suggestions.
It’s unthinkable nowadays that anyone ever fretted over the concept of a driverless car. I suppose it was the same way when most new technologies are on the brink of existence. If you go back far enough in time you’ll find people puzzled and incensed by the mere notion of horseless carts (or cartless horses as I originally typed for some reason) or pocket computers or even universal suffrage.
So now we should celebrate as we no longer have to bother with the whole exertion of driving (I only had a few years of feeling superior after I finally got my licence). No more drag racing between boys with massive heaving balls or any more swerving all over the road thanks to intoxication. It’s a paradise. So what if no one can walk safely on the pavement any more? We’ve got shiny new toys to play with.
Boy, those negotiators are getting far too swollen for those skintight breeches. Frankly it’s something of a surprise that they can even fit through standard doorways what with those big heads of theirs. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes right about now, suspecting that I’m chock full of sour grapes because the Brexit negotiations are panning out rather less than well. As if! But they are total snot-nose meanypantses who ought to roll over and let Britain have whatever it wants. Obviously.
It would be nice if David Davis could admit that we’re really not in as strong a position as he likes to think we are. All his bravado and talk about how Europe needs us more than we need them (untrue, there are depressing statistics that prove this) is basically baiting the other side. Either they want to crush us into the dust like worms or simply warn off other countries from doing the same thing as us.
If these could be sensible and straightforward negotiations, we would flame out with our tail between our legs, think hard about what we’ve done and get our reapplication paperwork in order. However, the grandstanding on the British side has got their opponents hungry for blood. They can’t allow talks to progress to trade without firm promises of moneys so they have to seek out alternative targets in the meantime.
YouTube was an obvious choice. A massive company, part of a greater network with plenty of resources and such but also with a greater sense of its own importance. It was perfect. They started with credible threatening legal letters and let things go from there. If we’re not careful, the EU will destroy the internet as we know it while they’re waiting for us to get all our ducks in a row to make a more acceptable offer.
Aren’t the older generation just the absolute worst? Not only have they snaffled all the housing and live it up with their debt free lifestyles (because absolutely every last one of them was able to go to university on taxpayer money) but now they’re chugging down the good stuff like there’s no tomorrow. Because, for them, there probably isn’t. Let’s put to one side the fact that I myself can’t stand coffee so wouldn’t be remotely fussed if all the beans disappeared forever. If it was baked beans, I’d be a little worried.
I can’t speak as to whether or not there was ever one before, but there’s a definite generational divide. Plenty of people have had trials to overcome during their youths but you can see why millennials (or generation y or whatever they’re supposed to be. You can see why there’s some antipathy towards ‘the greatest generation’ – they took the best name before anyone else could argue about it) feel hard done by.
There are several articles floating around right about now regarding how plenty of young people could totally afford a deposit if they would only stop scoffing so many expensive sandwiches and avocado toast. For once, there actually is truth on both sides. It’s possible to spend a lot more money without really realising it that it used to be. Phone contracts, nights out, foreign holidays etc ad infinitum.
On the other hand though, you could live the most stripped down monk-like existence and still never be able to to achieve the goal of scraping together a deposit. What’s the solution? Move away from London? Find yourself a sugar daddy or mama? Quietly bump off the older members of your family to get your greasy mitts on some delicious inheritance money? Or maybe people could admit that there are some endemic problems in the housing market and younger people have some genuine issues so they shouldn’t be made to feel too bad for the occasional splurge? Radical, I know.
Note: I do own a house and I’m in my mid-twenties. That doesn’t mean anything. I had money for a deposit from my grandmother’s estate and my partner and I have a decent combined income for a mortgage. We found a cheaper area and our jobs don’t tie us to London (but to the south-east. We could have had a mansion back in the Midlands but that’s an argument I’ll win another day). These are not universal solutions and anyone claiming that they are is spreading a hurtful deception.
Now that’s caught your attention hasn’t it? Makes a refreshing change from the usual pleas to stump up additional cash for fancy pens, exercise books, field trips to locations only tangentially related to the subject taught, expensive presents for all the teachers in the hope it might boost grades, very particular items of uniform, gum shields, designer backpacks, study guides and whatever else it is the little dears are squawking for now. Who would have thought that children were such an expensive prospect?
So, to be added to the never ending list of must-haves to hoover up every last spare bit of cash, is a strongman. Maybe the circus is in town and the children will be actively encouraged to run away with them. After all, they’ll never own their own homes and juggling is a steady career, it could be just the ticket for one or two of the thicker pupils.
It will be an important part of their education that they’ll never forget. Why would you be so cold and so withholding as to deny them this golden opportunity. Pay the strongman or he won’t perform but will instead break your legs. He’ll do it, he’s got the upper arm muscles to do it.
Of course, there’s every chance that this is something else entirely. Everyone knows how cruel kids can be so this might be a brand new initiative in fighting bullying. If all the parents are prepared to chip in, then a burly chap (they might even start recruiting women if the pilot project proves to be a success, how’s that for equal opportunities?) will patrol the corridors and playgrounds and make mincemeat out of any of the tiny snots who look like they’re about to stick a toe out of line. I’d like to see any other bullies operating in that environment.
I’m a snob. There, I’ve said it, the secret is out. Fine, there’s a bit more to it than just the bald statement. I’m fully in support of efforts to build new housing, especially when they’re not exclusively designed to attract only the mega-wealthy. I am cheered by the numbers of new housing estates popping up here, there and everywhere. But I really don’t want to live in any of them. Not yet at any rate, I’d rather give them at least five years or so to bed in.
I don’t have anything substantial against a new build and there are definite benefits: you aren’t forced to put up with anyone else’s hideous decor and you get the comfort of brand spanking new appliances. They just, well, they look weird. My house might well be younger than I am (but I’m terribly old now so that’s hardly surprising) but it’s over twenty years old. It’s structurally sound, possibly lacking ever so slightly in character but it’s not falling to bits.
If you cast about in this country you’re bound to find beautiful (and admittedly otherwise) examples of older architecture. There are excellent thatched houses that I’d never want to live in for obvious reasons but I’m cheered by their mere existence. There’s a reason why we dismissed an old railway cottage that was on the market when we were looking (namely the stairs were so steep I’d fall down them at irritatingly close together intervals).
While I may be starting to hate myself for developing such opinions, I think new builds just look weird. Like toy houses or abodes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney style community. But people have got to live somewhere. And also, the way we’re going at the moment, it probably wouldn’t be the worst thing if the Britain we’ve become gets swallowed up by something else entirely. I’m getting really tired of talking about Brexit.