(Disclaimer: Swear words and such.)
“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
That word resonates more than ever these days. One word to sufficiently encompass an entire moral outlook. Rage. The burning kind which seeks to overwhelm, to drown in flames of anger and frustration, all sense of civility in maintaining a status quo that is anything but civil. Rage against the injustices across the world and anger at those whose moral superiority only extends to issues outwith their proximity. Frustration as that superiority vanishes like the morning mist when injustice surfaces down the street because morality is easy to preach when you don’t have to combat the backwards views of friends and family. Easier to stay silent. Easier to point towards our American cousins and proudly proclaim your own moral ascension and their misgivings than challenge racism and bigotry next door.
Rage against the greed. Rage against the amoral nature of those whose words form policy and whose integrity could challenge Transformers. Rage against the I’m-all-right-Jacks whose sense of compassion and humanity ends at their own front door or is only applied to those from whom they can gain farcical tokens of privilege to wear as badges showcasing how much better they are. Rage against a rigged system whose very purpose is to grind you down, day by day, week by week, year by year, until the fire dies and you can rage no more. Etch out a life in this financial slave pen and be damned grateful you aren’t on the streets. Accept your lot with gratitude because they don’t want you enraged – they want you docile.
I am angry these days. I look out at the world and see stupid people making stupid decisions for the benefit of the already wealthy while the masses take the bait of the week and stomp down on those who are struggling; as if standing on the backs of those with the least in society will help them ascend the property ladder and become better human beings (our humanity meter being rigged to the housing market for some fucking reason).
I’m still young but there is little hope within me. I look out to the future and recoil at that dying light. There is no warmth there, no security, no comfort to be found amidst the war on our very self worth. With every battle fought our humanity is eroded further, the layers of our compassion scraped away, our dreams punctured by rich economists in suits preaching from their own religious texts. Their zealotry abides no dissent from the path. Their golden god demands strict adherence to the rules of the game, despite that game being rigged in their favour. And these brave heroes of industry take up the chant – ‘There is no other way. All must bow before the will of the markets’.
As I watch nearly every benefit, every positive aspect of modern life get dragged down to the Conservatives’ very own market (an upper-class affair, not a shoddy prole car-boot sale you understand) and sold to the highest bidder – I can’t help but think rage is not enough. For most people who weren’t born into this world wielding the expensive cutlery of their father’s estates, life is not pleasant. It is a shitty affair. A seemingly endless grudge match against an opponent who seems to have paid the referee off decades ago and is now getting away with murder: literally. For how else would you describe the starving of the poor and the vulnerable? How else could you possibly discuss the sanctioning of disabled people whose lives are made so miserable by the very systems which are supposed to be there to save them that they are forced to kill themselves? A final surrender to a government, a class, a culture, a society which boils down a human being’s worth into the value of their bank accounts. Into how much useless shite they can purchase to ‘help the economy’ because as everyone in a suit knows – if you’re not helping the economy then what fucking good are you?
Honestly. What the fuck have we become? Who the fuck are we to so easily allow ourselves to slide into dystopian levels of lunacy without so much as a whimper raised? Who are we to sell ourselves out for companies who see us as either sheep or pound signs? A generation of young people, bright people, people with ideas, with desires, with fucking dreams, are being left in a maelstrom of uncertainty, depression and anxiety all because rich cunts aren’t fucking satisfied with having mostly everything – they want it fucking all.
You are expendable. You are interchangeable. You are, in the eyes of this great nation of ours, ultimately fucking worthless. You don’t matter. Your beliefs don’t matter. Your dreams and desires are as dispensable as the pointless shite you buy to fill that void in your own fucking soul. As if owning the latest iPhone, as if contributing to the very systems which think of you as currency and nothing more, will fix things. We may as well exist as data for all the effects our humanity has on the world. We are the human fields in The Matrix being drained for every penny we have for the benefit of soulless fucks who have so little empathy for anything not minted that they may as well be machines themselves.
In Scotland there was a moment when rage almost carved out a path to something better – hope. For all the bullshit media narratives about a ‘divided’ country and the evilness of those Dick Dastardly nationalists there was something else happening underneath, something that went beyond the party politics of it all, or even the strictures of British political and cultural debate. In Scotland, in this tartan-loving, Braveheart-soaked country of ours, the people began to talk. Town halls. Churches. In the streets. At the bus stop. Down the pub. After the decades-long war that has been waged on community centres up and down this country, the unthinkable was happening. People, you, me, them, us, began to think and talk and debate and sketch ideas. There was rage. There was bitterness. There was compassion. There was belief. There was engagement on a level never seen before. Change was on the lips of a nation. Dreams were being dragged from the clouds and had begun to get moulded into tangible things. The dying of the light seemed a falsehood, a narrative that could be rewritten. There was another way. If only we could take that leap of faith and grasp the fucking thing.
You all know how that tale ended.
The patriotic voices of the independence opposition, the ones who refused to engage (for the most part) with the proles and their town hall meetings, the ones who ran away from debate, who demonised nationalists as racists and bigots and anti-English fools, who cheered on the prospect of people living in poverty under ‘separation’, who promised the moon and the stars cloaked in a Union Jack if you only voted No – well they danced to a different tune once the vote was done.
The promises and slogans – Devo-Max and Scotland ‘leading’ the United Kingdom – unleashed by a desperate British establishment as a last-ditch attempt to sway the natives, well they began to morph as the threat of a Yes vote abated. Devo-Max became a small stream of Sugarpuff-smelling pish. Scotland got told to shut it. We’d had our vote. We wouldn’t be leading anyone. And all the while those who had campaigned and used these lines and promises morphed with them. Integrity didn’t matter. Belief and principles could be shaped like play-doh – into whatever form that would appease the children.
‘You lost! Get over it!’ they cried when challenged on their own lack of political or moral compass. ‘You lost! Get over it!’ they screeched when a prole dared point out the cacophony of lies the No campaign had used to win their beloved vote. ‘You lost! Get over it!’ they screamed as the Tories won another general election despite Scotland only electing one Conservative MP out of fifty-nine.
And then Britain descended into a bigoted, xenophobic, racist, hate-filled referendum on whether or not immigrants should be strung up from lamposts like black people were from trees in the southern United States back in the day. Or it could have been about E.U. membership – considering the fucking sickening tone of the debate, aided and abetted by a right-wing media and both Labour and Tory politicians, it’s easy to get the two things confused. And a by-product of this shitstain of an excuse for politics was the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a right-wing thug. But don’t politicise her death. Otherwise the Daily Mail might be forced to check itself for a conscience. And still the proud defenders of the union insisted it was the Scottish nationalists who were the real bigots. It was Scottish nationalists who were the vilest of all the vile as unionist politicians and commentators danced around the xenophobic elephant in the room, wearing a union jack onesie, as it sang ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Fuck Immigrants’. What’s that? Elephant you say? No, nothing to see here. But those bloody Scottish nationalists…worse than Nazis. Enter the shifty eyes.
Yet Scotland isn’t a utopia. You just need to take a stroll around Glasgow and you’ll find enough racism and bigotry to make your ears bleed. And a stroll around Edinburgh reveals a city whose entire ethos seems to be lining the pockets of the middle classes at the expense of poor working people while simultaneously pretending they don’t exist or speaking for them. Because working class people don’t know what’s good for them, don’t ya know? We are far from being perfect as a nation and while the Scottish left does indulge in copious amounts of congratulatory masturbation, spunking their self-righteousness over one another with all the subtlety of a two-dimensional celebrity giving money to the homeless while there’s a camera crew nearby – Scotland does do things differently.
There’s isn’t as much hostility to immigrants up here as there is down south and our vote to stay in the EU reflected that. On the whole our politicians – particularly of the nationalist persuasion – are welcoming to immigrants who chose to make Scotland their home. And only Nicola Sturgeon, of all people, showed any sort of leadership in trying to allay the fears of immigrants living in Britain as England erupted in hate crime and racism following the Brexit vote. But yes, Scottish nationalists are like Trump supporters. Keep telling yourself that, Scottish Labour. Also, say hi to the dodos for me.
62% of Scots voted to remain in the E.U. But that vote doesn’t matter. Scotland’s vote never really matters and all attempts during the independence referendum to make it out like Scotland would be listened to after a No vote were either flat-out lies or the type of wilful delusion you find mental health nurses displaying to Bruce Willis in the film Twelve Monkeys. The only way for Scotland to remain in the EU was the vote No in the separation referendum. Repeated as fact in nearly every facet of our beloved media yet shown to be complete and utter horse shite. Now, if you bring up such things you’re told you’re being ‘divisive’ and there’s ‘no appetite’ for a second referendum despite the ground having shifted drastically. Fingers in the ears while singing God Save the Queen.
The nationalists desire for a second referendum is because of Brexit – the material change highlighting how fucking useless Scotland’s place within this beloved family of nations actually is.
The unionists desire to oppose a second referendum is based on fear and completely ignores that material change. Seriously. Ask them. They’ll point at a squirrel and shout ‘GET ON WITH THE DAY JOB!’ in the vein hope you’re a complete fucking moron with the same level of intelligence as them.
Since the 2014 vote I’ve oscillated between the states of nationalist and absolute fucking apathy. The continual downplaying of anything positive to do with Scotland (unless it can be pinned on Willie Rennie like a birthday badge) and the constant screaming of bad news through a megaphone (no matter how exaggerated) as proof Scotland’s a mud-ridden, parochial backwater than needs the big boys in London to tell it what to do – wears thin.
Yet so too does the slumbering zombie that is the remnants of the Yes movement. Clueless. Lifeless. Devoid of creativity beyond that which will soothe the many fragile egos that have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of what is acceptable. From the fucking pathetic self-righteous fuckery of the Scottish left (the tribes of which make the politics of Game of Thrones seem simplistic) to the uber-nats of ‘Thou Shalt Not Criticise the SNP until the Great Day Cometh’ school of zoomery. The former consumed with holding the moral high at any cost while the latter descends into a frothing mess of anti-BBC conspiracy bollocks which makes American Democrats, in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, look sane.
And yet the rage still surfaces. Amidst all of this I still can only see one option, one route, one direction to take that won’t piss away the talents and abilities of an entire fucking generation. I see only one way to save folk my age (and those younger) from the pits of despair and misery that await them if we refuse to do something about it. If Scotland stays tied to Westminster as England sets about trying to take Britain back to some glorious, isolationist golden age which never fucking existed – then we will have no future. Culturally, artistically, economically – we’ll be a desert, cold and lifeless. A corpse of a nation going through the motions, slumbering onwards into the dying light with nary a whimper in self-defence. Isn’t that just pathetic?
Fuck that. Fuck that lack of hope. Fuck that future. Fuck that servitude to Tory wet dreams of proles who know their place and are so brow-beaten they accept everything that is thrown at them. Fuck zero-hour contracts and a pension age which will no doubt reach 80 at some point. And which we’ll be told we should be fucking grateful for as we die on shift because we can’t even afford the hospital bills.
What will it take?
How much shite are you willing to take before you open your eyes to the reality of the situation? Despite how much our beloved politicians spin and skate over the ice of the status quo, pirouetting at certain points in order to pretend to you they’re capable of change, they don’t give a fuck about you. You are only the value of the shite you buy. Your vote only counts so much as it keeps these careerist fucks in cushy jobs with the prospect of a Lordship at the end of it. You are only the value of the house you get into debt to afford. Your worth is only how much you give to the economy. You are a pound sign to these fucking people and everything in your life is expendable as long as you can be bled dry.
If you’re sitting there thinking they won’t come for you then you’re a fucking idiot. I’m-all-right didn’t serve Jack well back in 2008 when the arse fell out of the economy. You may be comfortable. You may drive one of those suburban tanks (because people just have to know you’re worth a bit, right?). You might hold to the belief that you earned what you got all by yourself without a helping hand. You may have convinced yourself that as long as you get to holiday twice a year and have a nice four bedroom semi-detached house that everyone else doesn’t matter. Fuck you.
You’re just as expendable but you’re worse because you enable the fuckers.
It’s time to change. It’s time to talk. It’s time to open up this debate so it’s filling every fucking crevice out there. On the street. In the pubs. In the town halls and churches. Fuck the politicians. Fuck the SNP even; who are as filled with careerists as any other party but we forgive all that because ‘INDEPENDENCE!’ or something. Fuck every suit-wearing cunt getting £70k a year who mouths off the soundbites because it’s what’s expected of their ‘side’ and nothing more. And fuck Scottish Labour who have forgotten what they stand for but who know exactly where they stand: in opposition to anything positive for the very country at the start of their name. All for a vendetta against the nationalists which makes the Hatfields and McCoys looks like the bloody Blues Brothers.
Enough has to be enough. Compassion is not weakness. We have to unlearn the individualism of Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May. We are hundreds of thousands of lonely selfish islands in a tumultuous sea which threatens to drown all of us. It’s time we realise the strength in community once more. It’s time to start giving a fuck about those at the bottom. It’s time to stop saturating our minds with distracting drivel because it’s easy. Because it saves us thinking. It’s time to we measured our self-worth in more than just money, cars or houses. It’s time to fucking realise we only win when we all win. That society should helps those with the least. That the measure of who we fucking are is how we treat people who can’t help themselves. When did callousness become a virtue? When did caring become taboo? When did we surrender who we fucking are to a class of absolute monsters?
It’s time to challenge the convention. It’s time to put the dreams back on the table and give the middle finger to every arsehole so devoid of imagination that they cling to the status quo like a child does a safety blanket. It’s time to realise that just because a man wears a suit doesn’t make him incapable of complete fucking idiocy. That just because a rich Tory is ‘well educated’ doesn’t stop the words coming out of his mouth from being a monumental fucking farce. It’s time to realise that you have a responsibility – that we have a responsibility – in these days of hatred and greed to light a fucking beacon of belief not just for ourselves but for the fucking world. There is another way. Things can change.
We can be better than we are.
Sound optimistic? Are you shirking away? Shaking your head that little old Scotland can’t be that? Are we getting above our station?
Fuck that. Fuck all of that.
It’s time to strike some fear back into the hearts of the evil fuckers of this world.
It’s time to rage against that dying light by lighting our fucking own.