Friday 21 June 2013

The Revelation Period

*Caution : This article contains language some readers may find offensive. However, language evolves for a reason. Believe me, I find the issues it raises more offensive*
Also : TRIGGER for some

You must excuse my history. Most of it comes through the prism of Shakespeare and my literature degree. So, for me, history is : The Middle Ages, The Renaissance, The Romantics and The Restoration.

Lately, I very often find myself wondering how history will remember and reflect on Britain - and of course the wider world - at the turn of this 3rd millennium.

Every generation thinks themselves the best, the most modern, the most advanced or enlightened. As human beings, unable to comprehend what we have yet to discover, we believe we've reached the pinnacle of what humans may achieve. Of course each generation, dripping with arrogance and youth are wrong, we know almost nothing.

There seems to be little doubt that we are on the brink of - probably already living through - one of the greatest periods of flux the world has ever known. 

From the "Arab Spring" to the global crisis of capitalism. From crippling austerity regimes to the erosion of civil rights -of democracy itself -we feel as though we are on the very brink of disaster or epiphany. Certainly I feel as though we are blinking into a new light that is shining on every corrupt corner of the modern lives we thought so advanced, so progressive.

How did we miss so much? When did we stop caring about our own futures, about our country and how it reflects us back onto the world? When did we give up, roll over? When did we decide we could never win and it didn't much matter either way? 

If historians name this period at all, surely it will be "The Revelation"?

Oh, we all knew deep down. We all knew we were discreetly looking away, taking care of our own. We knew there was greed and corruption, but those sofas on the never-never and cheap cardboard "food" made it all so easy. 

Just 13 years into this new millennium, so plated in gold and hopeful opportunity, and the cheap patina has all but worn away. 

For most of those 13 short years - barely a drop in the ocean of time - day after day, month after month, it seems a light has finally started to shine into the darker corners of modern life, exposing almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg of the full extent of the problems we face. For most of us, it's just too much to comprehend. Perhaps that's why so many switched off altogether. 

What can "ordinary" people, like us, do to feed all those poor crying babies we see in the NSPCC and Oxfam ads? To love them and give them a little of the abundance we take for granted? How can we alone  stop wars or expose corporate corruption? We feel powerless, overwhelmed, and so we focus on making our own little lives as good as they can be. It's just too painful to dwell on all the pain and injustice in the world. We feel ashamed if we try.

The thing that shocks me most is the sheer scale of our decay. 

You see, it turns out a group of overpaid, over privileged bankers and traders and business people had been playing poker with everyone's money. Also, they were really, really bad at it. No matter though, the FSA set up to regulate them was a toothless, corrupt, lapdog anyway, so it didn't matter. And they didn't go to prison of course. Nope, they're still sipping a nice crisp glass of Cristal on the terraces of the poor. 

Anyone working in TV or radio, or politics or the catholic church (and probably any other institutions in which the powerful may harm the weak) could fuck children at will if they chose, seemingly with no fear of punishment or exposure. As though they were choosing from a puberty-menu, we now seem to be witnessing the unravelling of schemes so established, so common-place, they had been causing harm, unchecked, for decades

How about the media? They were deleting messages from a dead girl's phone to get their "scoop". Accused of paying off the police, attempting to influence politicians through bribery and blackmail. Lying in endless cruel stories in an attempt to feed the vulnerable to the middle classes.

Priests raping little boys in the vestry. 

MPs, greedy and grasping, abusing their expenses so spectacularly and almost universally, that few of us will ever forget the "duck moat" or the claim for a husband's porn viewing. 

Energy companies charging more & more for fuel, to pad the pockets of shareholders who must, of course, always see a profit. Preferably billions of it. Why waste all those precious 50ps crammed frugally into slots? 

Mobile phone companies charging hundreds or even thousands of pounds to make exactly the same phonecalls abroad as you would at home. 

Payday loan companies breezily charging up to 4000% interest on loans only the most disadvantaged would ever consider. 

Food that is so toxic from processing and additives, padded out with a little horse or insect or offal, we begin to wonder if eating might do us more harm than the starvation it exists to avoid. 

Sick and disabled people sent back a generation on nothing more than the assumptions of the hale, healthy and more able. Juggled by corporate giants, their fate so much less important than the truth.

Politicians, who were never at the top of the honesty tree to begin with, lying daily and with ever growing confidence that "nothing will be done" or assuring us that "something must be done" when we all know clearly that nothing ever will be done. At least not by them. 

Global businesses paying their taxes in pennies that should be pounds. Billions and billions "avoided" perfectly legally by corporate giants while smaller businesses close daily in a futile attempt to compete. 

A housing market grown so bloated that rent now siphons off 40% of what we earn. Landlords who leave properties to crumble, confident they won't be ordered to improve. No cap on what they can charge, an assumption that you will never get your deposit back however you leave the property. A buyers market that can no longer sustain itself, so overpriced, that in many areas you need to earn £80k to get a mortgage on an average family home. Not enough homes and even if there were, nowhere near enough money to pay for them

Hospitals and care homes allowed to abuse the vulnerable or elderly unchecked, often bullying, cruel and inadequate. But that's OK, because the health watchdog was corrupt too and almost never stepped in.

Poor so much poorer, rich so much richer.

Wages consistently falling and falling and falling again, eroding the parts of life we work for. Unless you're a CEO. Or a banker. Or a director. Or a..... you get the idea. The great and the good "invited" to police stations where the rest of us are dragged in chains. 

Crops grown & destroyed for nothing but subsidies while most of the world starve. 

Wars with ever more dubious justifications.

Whistle-blowers damned, justice-seekers gagged. 

A protest slogan sweeping Europe "Bread, education, freedom" that surely popped up mistakenly from a Victor Hugo novel?

Pension funds raided, entitlements that no longer entitle.

And we KNEW. Really, deep down we did, didn't we? We knew the homes we were buying were overpriced, but you have to have a roof over you head. We knew the food we were eating was probably crap, but they made the crap taste so goooood, we couldn't resist! We knew landlords were ripping us off, but what could be done? We knew MPs were lying and bankers were cooking the books, but impotence is overwhelming when faced with so much to fix. So we carry on, we turn a blind eye, we walk by on the other side. 

Most of these stories rumbled on for years - sometimes even decades - before anyone took notice or seemed to care. For instance, Tom Watson and others tried to expose the phone hacking scandal for nearly a decade, but only when journalists hacked a young, dead, girl's mobile did the country really hear anything but the constant everyday white noise of misery. 

So here we are, at the birth of The Revelation period. I can only hope historians report it more faithfully than any of our here-and-now media. 


  1. I find a subscription to Private Eye keeps me aware of things. I get my fortnightly copy. I keep it by the electric kettle. Whenever I am waiting for it to boil and while I wait for my tea to brew, I read a column of it. It keeps me constantly in touch with all the crap going on.

    Perhaps that's not too good for my depression. Indeed I did try giving up all news for a while. But I start feeling unsettled and guilty if I force myself to be ignorant. I just can't do it.

  2. The most depressing thing about this article, and I can find little to fault, is that I would love to think that things might change in the future.........
    Trouble is it won't..........not in my lifetime, and I suspect my children will be lucky if anything changes in theirs either!

  3. Fantastic evaluation of modern day life Sue. Thank you for such in-depth open-minded opinion that exposes so many real problems that we face today. I will probably be seen as a fool, but i actually still blame Tony(f**king)Blair and New Labour for so many of lifes woes. He, they, whatever New (f**king) Labour was, had a chance to stop all the s**t going on in Britain. Tony Blair was such a charmer, promising a future of unity anf hope for everyone who needed big change in their lifes, but all the while, Blair and New Labour were simply manipulating the masses to follow like sheep into a quagmire of wars and financial loss. The problem we now have is that conservatives blame New Labour for making the mess and David Cameron and co are in no rush,( if they actually wanted to) whatsoever to right the wrongs of the last twenty tears. I understand your point of view, but please, please Sue, do not assume any kind of responsibility for the state of the world. You are a savior to so many. It is simply beyond the realms of imagination to think you could ever have seen any of the facts in your story as results of your making! I read your views, agreed with them all and i can only stand humbled by your care, intelligence and integrity.

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  5. Hi Sue.

    Great post as always. Can I take issue with you on one point?

    I appreciate the Catholic Church has done itself no favours, and personally am very angry with the way the hierarchy dealt with abuse in the past, but there is a suggestion in this that all priests are abusive, which is really far from the truth (and I'm
    guessing not what you mean)

    I think it's worth noting the very many wonderful priests out there, who do quiet heroic work supporting their communities and working for justice. These are the priests who inspired and continue to inspire me.

    I have met one priest in my nearly 48 years who was abusive. He touched me up more than once and it had a long term impact on me. His behaviour was abysmal, and, at the time, I didn't even realise it was wrong. I admired him, he was charismatic, and known for being good with young people. Years later I met the leader of his order, who told me that in later life, someone exposed this priest. At first she wasn't believed, not because they were trying to cover up, but because they actually couldn't quite believe it. This woman was brave and challenged again, and the order then dealt with it appropriately. The priest denied all wrongdoing, but I understand as he reached the end of his life he began to face up to what he'd done and died sorry for it. The leader of the order was very apologetic to me for their failings, and the failings of that priest. The abuse he committed didn't just hurt his victims but his fellow priests who were betrayed, disgusted and appalled by it.

    Sorry for this very long post, but these things never get talked about and it's easy to have a stereotype.

    The Catholic church failed very badly in its selection of suitable candidates for priesthood, in monitoring their behaviour and then in dealing with the consequences. However, I do believe things have changed, and lessons have been learnt. We now have a safeguarding commission and safeguarding officers (I'm one) in every parish who are independent of the priest

    As a Catholic I'm appalled by what our leaders didn't do. But I'm also appalled by the local authority I used to work for who covered up the abuse of a caretaker in a daycentre for people with learning disabilities, refusing to believe the victims until one was pregnant.

    Hope you don't mind this long comment - just think abuse is likely to happen whenever an institution is closed, powerful, and doesn't keep an eye on its employees; and that it is covered up when that institution is frightened of scandal.


  6. Your writing is spot-on and eloquently expressed,as always. One can only hope the darkest night really does come before the dawn.

  7. We're the Head In The Sand generation to our shame :-( , this is a very perceptive and true summary of the present time sadly.

  8. Sue, thanks for an absolutely brilliant article/accurate description of where we currently are and the insight that we knew it was coming, in reality.

    As others have said, the worst thing is that you have no real hope that it will get better for many of us now&in near future. I feel like that most days and at a couple of weeks off turning 52(4th July)I can't stop thinking that as things stand currently(that will likely change&only hope is I die before it)I have until age 68 to get to any kind of pension? I have now been out of work for coming up to 3 years in October and despite being on JSA(too scared to go on ESA!!used to work at DWP!!)and today, by e-mail, have just been turned down for yet another part time admin/customer services job I went for last week. Hottest day of year(don't cope well in heat)I was at the interview for an hour with 2 lovely women, it was better than many interviews, thought it went well and they said you would be called for a 2nd less "formal" interview if they wanted you! This job was likely one of my best options, but it still lookd like my disability(walking stick)age and now length of time out of work all goes against me. I don't have many qualifications as I left school early due to family breakdown and have spent much of my adult life as a carer, which may have contributed to my own disability/poor health, that started about 2004. All the Jobcentre/Work Programme and other similar places I have had contact with, talk of changing/redoing your CV, go on a course/do voluntary work. But the reality is that none of this will make any difference as employers always have much more applicants, mostly younger and many will likely have qualifications/skills you don't have & have no hope of catching up with. I can't kid people either that my health/disability/pain/other medication, doesn't affect me day to day, because. So where does this leave me? Most of these organisations&certainly the Government/people higher up, make it seem like it must be your fault, as it suits their "aims", and ideology, so you are left feeling like you have no worth? I know this isn't true and I will always try to keep fighting, but I do think it's seeping in to my being, nevertheless. Have just had more crap from my Work Programme Provider and am dreading October, when I finish with them&go straight back to Jobcentre as I think we're going to be suject to more crap, regardless that we have done what we're supposed to do? They have already started little things, like asking me to take muy job logs, so duplicating as Work Programme deal with that and they have just changed my signing to=ime to an earlier one for next time, which means I can't use my bus pass to travle free to get there!!

    I wonder if it's a coincidence that my pain levels have been worse lately, especially at night, dsepite being put on morphine end of last year, which was a shock to me?

    1. Marion don't put yourself down the chances are you are much more able then those interviewing you as in today's society these types of HR jobs are run by clowns

  9. I remember leaving a comment about this on your blog at one point, can't remember when. Civilisations crumble, mostly due to the fact they believe themselves incredibly advanced for their time...but the only inevitability is that they will fall sooner or later. It's been happening since Mankind became, well Mankind.

    Whether we learn anything in my lifetime, I can't say. But I would like to see it before I go, at least for the sake of my son and other children.

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  11. Oscar Wilde
    Lord Illingworth: The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden.

    Mrs. Allonby: It ends with Revelations.

    --from "A Woman of No Importance," Act I (1893)

  12. A sad indictment of life in the 21st century. Who would have thought that foodbanks would become a survival necessity for people IN work, let alone the unemployed?

    What next? Revival of workhouses for the unemployed, the poor, sick, vulnerable, disabled and old? The poor told to eat their babies when the foodbanks run out?

  13. This is apparently a video of Morsi being arrested.


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