For a period of time we see that almost the world over, politics has been downgraded to a secondary level of interest and replaced, awfully, with the exploits of violent, misguided and malicious individuals and groups.
Barcelona, Cambrils and Turku follow on the deplorable events of Charlottesville in ways that defy any rational explanation or justification. We have a summer of madness about us that may just be the manifestation of ticking time-bombs amidst our own individual societies that we have chosen to ignore or, more disturbingly, have just not seen. Yet, as history buffs will know, the world has forever been a place of conflict, national and ethnic division and above all religiously at odds amongst its peoples. Perhaps the one assertion that could be made here is that whilst the human race has made huge technological and administrative leaps forward over the last four millennia it has not really changed its own face that much. For sure, we profess to be more educated, inventive and world wise than our forebears but that has not changed that intrinsic element of human life - our desire, even hunger for superiority, prevalence and domination. The history books - for those who care to consider the precedents here - are full of stories of one group of humans trying to do down another group, and vice-versa. In short, whilst our inventive minds have expanded we have remained as base and misguided as a species as we were when we first started moving out from that eponymous 'cradle of life'.
Yet philosophising will not greatly help our Western world at this time. Shameful acts of barbarity and gratuitous, misguided violence stir our wrath, agitate our souls and push recrimination and vengeance into minds - for that is a natural human instinct. Yet it won't solve the underlying problem and, frankly, at the stage the world is at right now there seem to be few realistic and practical options that could be taken that one might consider reasonable and humane (within the definitions our present world would understand). Our reactions will be more exaggerated prejudice, more conflict, more division unless we perhaps stand back for a while and reflect upon what is happening and why knee-jerk response isn't always the best way forward. If humankind has developed and evolved at all, then let our minds carefully reason the ways forward.
Here in Britain, there is little else to titillate our minds whilst these other terrible events are occurring. One that has caught my eye is the story of the drunk/drugged up driver who received just a 3 year driving ban. Seemingly over 70 times the legal limit of alcohol in him and cocaine infused as well, our wise and wonderful justice system just bans him for a mere 3 years. This is, perhaps, a good example of how our human endeavour is distorted by the strictures of what we describe as 'civilised behaviour' without recourse to common sense. This individual will not see a 3 year ban as any impediment to his behaviour and lifestyle and will no doubt continue as before with the contempt for law and decency that he has previously displayed. As someone once said, '...the law is an ass !'
Steve Bannon's departure from the White House has been long expected - nobody but a family member seems to endure that option for long. The pundits argue that this is John Kelly, the gritty new chief-of-staff, putting the White House in order and bringing the affairs of state into a more internationally recognisable, acceptable (and visible) format. There is that fly in the ointment, however, called President Trump - the fellow with absolute authority to do what he likes. And whilst my last blog had (just) a hint of sympathy with him he is still an unpredictable and potentially dangerous man at the helm of this super-power. John Kelly is unlikely to be able to curb those natural instincts of his president to blurt out whatever he chooses at the most inopportune moments. So, whatever the administrative changes that may be made, will anything really change in this kafkaesque administration ? I'd also like to know some of the real stories behind some of the departures and that raft of business leader resignations from Trump's advisory panels and quango's - no doubt a bunch of revelatory books will come out in the months ahead to tell us all about it.
Finally, I see that there is a tremble of unrest amongst McDonald's employees in Britain. Lack of security and low pay are said to be the causes. Corporate platitudes have been issued and 'grievance procedures activated' but will this quell that human urge to rebel and start a burger uprising around the country ? Well, I for one have plenty of retaliatory ammunition as most McDonald's customers seem to favour throwing their rubbish out of their cars as they pass my modest dwelling (hopefully blog unrelated ?) - and I could be encouraged to start throwing it back...'Tin hats, everybody !'