The Giant Bunny Rabbit in the Sky.

     Well, I couldn’t just call this piece ‘Politics’ could I, no-one would read it. They probably wouldn’t go near ‘Politicians’ either, as millions of words have been written about that subject already. But here are mine.

     I think I must be dismaying. People are dismayed with me. I’m sure that’s the word, and I don’t blame them, because whenever the subject of politics or a particular politician comes up, I barely react. My wife, who’s very much into politics, is very patient, because it’s frustrating to live with someone who barely reacts, gets indignant, outraged or angry at the people and events in politics. I suppose this is an apology to her, and to my dismayed friends. But let me explain.

     In 2024, things are terrible, I’ll admit that. They have been, increasingly, for about 8 years. It’s not that I don’t know that, I’m fully aware of the seemingly-bottomless depths of deceit displayed by our representatives, and the flagrant contempt in which they, in Britain, hold us. But if I were to get angry about it, I’d be letting them in, and my character just can’t allow that. They’d win, and I’d probably shoot myself.

     It’s the outrage that I can’t do. Nowadays, almost every day, something absolutely dreadful and despicable happens, for people to get outraged about. Some arrogant new lie, or blatantly disgraceful policy decision; people react as if each outrage is greater than the last, which it may well be, but I can’t take it. The constant surprise, why? Look at what happened yesterday! And remember when that event happened! If someone acts in despicable fashion all the time, why are people surprised that they keep on doing so? I know I’m in the minority, but I can’t do this constant surprise, outrage, that the majority seem to be able to, and to even seem to enjoy. I can’t. I’ve snapped. I’m unshockable, and get frustrated by the frustration in people’s eyes when I barely react.

     I actually snapped in 2009, long before the start of the 8-year period I mentioned earlier. The straw was the Expenses Scandal. Even at this distance I regret having to capitalise it like that, as if it gives the episode some sort of respectability. But it was a real event, now a part of history, and as such needs to be capitalised, that’s all. I can’t write ‘the wars of the roses’. My own dismay with politicians had been increasing anyway, I suppose I was then one of those who could do outrage, and would revel in getting angry at each misdemeanour that went on. But the sheer scale of dishonesty and number of politicians parading it before us broke me. After all the incompetence, improprieties and immorality, affairs, general deviousness, sleaze and scandals of the previous 40 years (and that’s only in my lifetime, dishonesty isn’t as new as that), Expenses broke me. I was a hundred times bitten, and I had to become shy. I couldn’t be shocked anymore. I have been of course, in the last few years it would have been inhuman not to react to the inhumanities of man, but just not in the outraged conversation, daily way.

     Me snapping in 2009 was inevitable really. I was brought up with political hatred, with a father who was Labour to the core, and who literally shouted at the television whenever Maggie Thatcher said anything. I hope a blithe and ignorant part of me as a child saw it as funny, quirky, a silly adult thing that he did, but in the end it was wearing. I never got involved, and of course usually left the room, but I suppose the seeds of outrage, which grew into the gnarled beanstalk that was felled by Expenses, were sown. Much better than the millions of kids who are shouted at by their parents, of course, he never did that.

     So back to 2024, and my self-disappointment in being dismaying and undismayable. I’m a political ostrich, but it’s self-preservation. If I hadn’t shut the door, shut out the constant outrage, I’d get too angry. Right now, and for goodness knows how long I’m stuck with this, I can’t hear any conversation about Boris Johnson without feeling literally sick, and when I see him on the telly, I look away. Similarly, in 2020, when Dominic Cummings told us all to stay put, then drove his family across the country because he was better than us, it was well-known that he often walked his dogs from his house in Islington. Islington is about 3 miles away, and many times I told myself not to just nip down the road, wait for him to come out, and punch him right in his self-important smirk. Fortunately I never did it, knowing that it would just land me in prison. But this is the man who issued the decree for me personally not to be able to visit my own father as he died, not to be able to say goodbye to the man who raised me, or at least to tell him to shut up at last.

     In 2024, we yearn for the innocent days of Theresa May, who was pitiful, David Cameron, who was a naïve and blundering fool, and Tony Blair, who was despotic and highly dangerous. Perhaps not him, he could fit into today’s corruption and no questions asked. Yet even my dad’s great antagonist, probably the 1980s greatest British antagonist Maggie Thatcher, we can see now, had a definite strength, and even decorum about her. A lot of the things she did were heartless, but at least she had one. In 2024, there’s not a ventricle between the lot of them.

     Apology over. No sympathy wanted, none of this is an excuse, it is an apology, from me to my dismayed company.

     And sorry that there wasn’t anything about the giant bunny rabbit in the sky after all. Though I’d rather he was looking after us than those we’ve voted in to do so.

     February 2024. Look back on this and laugh.

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