Implacable Fury

Women and Children First

Implacable Fury

The demise of the imperial gentleman

When I was a child in the 1960s we were taught that we should behave like gentlemen. This meant a few things that might seem a little weird now.

Gentlemen were, of course, men, and in the language and perceptions of the time strong and powerful. So we were expected to:

  1. Protect the weak
  2. Not take advantage of the vulnerable
  3. Be kind and show interest in others
  4. Make sure things are done with a sense of fair play

All of these things were ultimately about using that strength to make society work for everybody and leaving no one behind. If you choose to see it that way, anyway.

Of course, the reality of Victorian and Edwardian men actually doing this while in fact robbing most of the world with their empire, and often protecting the weak meant forcing people (particularly if they had brown skins) into situations where these men could ride roughshod over their protectees' actual needs. Think missionaries saving people who were perfectly fine before the missionaries arrived, for example. Then add on the theft of resources and so on. Try Orwell's Burmese Days to get a flavour of what this was like.

But at least in the imperial imagination the arrogance was masked by lip service to a sense of fairness. Nowadays the robbery and rapine is just called debt and the imperial machine carries on sucking the life out of poor people all over the world without pretence, but it uses banks and bureaucracy to do so so the individual imperial agent is no more. It means it's very hard for people like us to see what's going on. Our owners have created a value extraction machine that doesn't need the old imperial gentlemen overseeing the mayhem any more.

Women and children first

The phrase women and children first is a cliché from stories of disasters, where there is some kind of evacuation needed, and the most vulnerable are removed from danger before anyone else. Gentlemen wait and do what they can to protect the vulnerable from whatever disaster is behind the story. The phrase is part of the imperial gentleman lexicon. Gentlemen put themselves last. It's a small C christian thing, about sacrifice and true nobility. It was a hollow laugh even at the time.

Of course, we now live in times where everyone else is paying the price of the world being turned into a billionaires' poisoned playground. Protections working class people had, like unions, or the benefits those unions won after bitter battles are being dismantled. The structures that came out of those struggles that warm, educate and heal, making our society work for the majority, have been stripped and turned into money making machines. In the UK the final transformation of the NHS is now complete, a transformation that nobody who wasn't going to make money from it voted for, either.

The final twist, now, is that it has become women and children first to the slaughter house. The vulnerable pay first because they can't protect themselves from the ravening machine. Inflation will kill the poorest amongst us. Gentlemen were supposed to put themselves in the way and keep evil at bay. The gentlemanly approach was only ever a pretence anyway, a front over entitlement and privilege (themselves something that was supposed to force gentlemanly behaviour). Now we just have entitlement and privilege, a kakistocracy of the most stupid, lying their way to wealth stolen from commonly needed and held resources while the rest of us freeze to death this winter.

We didn't voted for any of this. Democracy is a sham. In the UK a majority of people didn't vote for our incompetent, venal, kleptocratic government but they have a massive majority in parliament that has allowed them to make us all even poorer. The same is true in a lot of places. So we don't have to listen to the idiots - they don't have a mandate, and they're criminals anyway.

Implacable Fury

I've recently come to the end with my current job, had enough of the disorganised approach. I was thinking it might be why I've been so deeply angry for the last few weeks. But in fact, silly people making poor decisions and trying to make me responsible for them hasn't made me angry at all. I'm angry about how tired everyone is, and how little is changing. I'm angry at the relentless tide of avoidable human suffering happening so some entitled jack asses can make a few quid more when they already have more than enough.

I've also seen lots of noise and speculation about how Johnson tried to get a £100k a year job lined up for the woman who is now his wife. And there's aspersions being cast that an idiot got a seat in the house of lords because he walked in on Johnson being sexually pleasured by his then mistress and it was the price of his silence. There is a whole slew of other rubbish and outright lies constantly coming out of his faction of the political class.

This is dross. This is dross designed to keep you wailing and gnashing your teeth while nothing changes. It's enough to know his government are corrupt and useless. Who cares what shenanigans they've got up to next? Whenever you deal with them you know whatever they say is self-serving lies. It's the same with the opposition since Starmer took over - there's always a hidden agenda, and it's usually closet toryism or abandoning the working class to be torn apart by the wolves of capital while looking sad about it. Who cares? There isn't any such thing as caring cuts to services we all need, just cuts with a friendly face, and (bluntly) fuck that.

Save your fury and keep the energy it gives you. Don't waste it shouting at clowns. Aim it at things that can start the kinds of change that work. For example, we need to start creating ways of doing things that aren't under the control of our owners. Occupy the health centre they're trying to close. Compost food waste and then work out how to turn it back into food in your local area - fight the food desert for poor people. Start greening your street. Just start breaking down barriers by talking to your neighbours. Use your implacable fury to give you the energy to overcome your fears and doubts. You don't need permission to make change happen, no-one with a vested interest in the status quo will give it to you anyway!