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I am fucking angry, and rightly so.

March 21, 2011

The truth is, I get annoyed easily. I get annoyed by commuters who come off the escalator – luggage and all – and immediately stop dead in their tracks. I get annoyed by people who seem to devalue this beautiful language by being oblivious to the difference between “loose” and “lose” or “their”, “they’re” and “there”. I get annoyed by mediocre food on my one special evening out at an expensive restaurant. Then I get annoyed by my dinner companion who tells me I shouldn’t make a fuss. Yes, I get easily annoyed. But, it takes a lot to get me really angry.

And recently I have been really angry a lot of the time; angry with politics, with policies, with politicians, with the  p_o_l_i_t_e_n_e_s_s which pervades it all. “Don’t get so het up about it” say a bevy of largely apathetic acquaintances. “Your opinion seems unreasoned and partisan” say some commentators on my blog. “Don’t swear” says my mother. And of course, “Don’t make a fuss” – that most middle-class and English touchstone.

When did the left become so terribly polite? When did our party decide that the way forward was to occupy the middle-ground and provide no real alternative? When will they realise that this does not express the raw anger that the people they represent feel? Why should the discourse about what is right and wrong be debated in the Eton-ite manner handed down to us by Tories. Why should the battle for our rights be fought with noblemen’s rapiers?

The idea that passion – and specifically anger – is not a “becoming quality”, that it betrays a lack of rationality, is decidedly middle-class and pointedly Victorian. It is rooted in most religious doctrine and its purpose was – and still is – to subjugate the masses. There is a deliberate outlawing of emotion, instinct and common sense in politics. It is replaced by evidence, statistics and an axiomatic adherence to a set of principles which increasingly benefit the few to the detriment of the many. Idealism has become a dirty word; passion and honesty, political suicide. The tepid responses of Ed Miliband and the tacit collusion of Nick Clegg pass for opposition.

The submission of politics to science is complete and unconditional. The science in question may be economics – a self-perpetuating, self-defeating set of myths which are all based on an almost religious belief in a free market which appears to have more exceptions than examples. Or it may be statistical analysis and the resulting shaping of everything a politician says and does in accordance to focus groups and poll analyses.

The result is a total lack of fairness, moral code and ideals – anything is game as long as there are the stats to support it. The result is the vulgar idolatry of selfishness and profit. The handing over of our sovereignty to financial institutions. The creation of more billionaires than ever before, while the vast majority are being told that these are hard times. The brutal rape of millions of citizens who are told on a daily basis to bend over and lube-up – supported, naturally, by incontrovertible evidence and expressed with such politesse – that one finds themselves with their pants around their ankles without even thinking about it.

But what happens if we begin to refuse to play by those rules? What happens when people start to take to the streets (or to the blogs) and express themselves without reserve? The under-reporting of the Madison, Wisconsin events can only have one explanation. It seems to me that the 2% that holds the world’s wealth is afraid.

The dogged insistence that revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are because “people there want what people here take for granted” is a cheap conjurer’s trick. People there want exactly the same things as people here: a representative democracy that looks after the interests of the many, equality in health and education, safety and security. And most of all they don’t want to be lied to by leaders who take ordinary people for simpletons. And that is exactly what I want, too. I want Cameron to stop pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining.

Well, I say there is nothing wrong with anger, if it is right to be angry; if one is (to quote Aristotle) “angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right reason and in the right way”. Mainstream psychology agrees overwhelmingly that constructive anger expressed in the right way is a healthy emotion and vital to change. That sort of anger is noble – it is indignation, gumption, purpose, nerve and bravery. Look at that banker that waved a £10 note at the nurses marching – he got fired last week. Was it because of a sudden attack of morality sweeping through the cubicles at Deutsche Bank? Was it fuck. It was because people like us made a fuss.

I have never demonstrated or marched in my life. On the 26th I will be there, as angry as anyone and shouting as loudly as anyone. If Ed Miliband has any sense he will join me; soak it up, let it fire him, let it remind him the simple, direct, honest language of socialism. Let it make him fucking angry. Because, he will realise that this sort of anger is an unstoppable force for change.

 

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Scyrene permalink
    March 22, 2011 11:11 am

    The problem is, if everyone gets angry all the time (or even only every so often) we end up with chaos. Since everyone has their own interests, depending on their beliefs and position, if each group fights for what they believe in, those who are strongest or most numerous are bound to win.
    Politeness and reason do sometimes lead to apathy and inequality, but I’d rather live in a frustrating but placid country than one rocked periodically by revolutions. And the latter doesn’t automatically (or maybe ever) lead to a better system anyway – France isn’t significantly fairer, freer, or more prosperous than the UK, after a number of fallen governments, revolutions and restorations.
    I worry, too, that you’re inferring that passion should subvert empiricism. That is surely retrograde. If you cannot demonstrate to me why your beliefs are relevant or meaningful, hopefully with logical or evidence-based arguments, then I have no reason to agree with you (unless I fear the force with which you express them). Justice, the right to life, pacifism, equality – all can be demonstrated to be good. It is not enough simply to say they are, or to believe they are – there must be some external motivation for that belief, or it is no better than any other.
    Ultimately, I don’t think politeness and recourse to statistics are the real cause of these problems, but selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy. I wouldn’t rule out fighting if it was really necessary, but I prefer to try t enact what I believe in, rather than smashing things until people pay attention.

    • March 22, 2011 3:55 pm

      You see, the whole point of the post is that anger is not an irrational emotion per se, or tantamount to violence. I don’t remember saying anyone should break anything. It is actually the supression of these legitimate feelings, whether by internal or external means, that eventually erupts into violent conflict.

  2. Angry Old Man permalink
    March 22, 2011 12:39 pm

    Here here. Emotions and rationality do not occupy mutually exclusive realms. Anger is not the manifestation of some perverse twist of the psyche – come roiling to the surface.

    Anger is a legitimate response to intolerable stimuli, and is always informing us of something pertinent.

    Anger, real anger – is not abstract, it’s associative and has meaning. It’s up to the rational mind to cut to the core of that meaning, to reflect on the subject that has given rise to it, and to articulate our rage in the most appropriate fashion. Whatever that might be.

    The meek will inherit the earth? No. The meek will purchase the earth at the price set by the ruling elite. (Terms and conditions apply.)

  3. talkingtocactus permalink
    March 23, 2011 1:43 pm

    great post, i totally agree. i liked the bit about the victorian attitude, you’re spot on.

    apart from the part about lose/loose – instinctively i agree but then i question who prescribed those spellings/formats and start to wonder whether it’s really so bad to challenge them a bit. that’s what studying linguistics does, apparently.

  4. March 24, 2011 4:19 pm

    Since when did the left become “terribly polite”?!

  5. Jeni permalink
    March 26, 2011 11:32 pm

    I feel the same and agree with you, Yes I to get angry…. not smash the place up and scream, but that fire which lights up and burns my soul when I see what a mess this country has become, when did parents stop teaching manners ?? How much does it cost to say thankyou, sorry, to tell a child on the bus/train to stand so an adult can sit down,to hold a door open politeness and manners are what make us. unfortunatly most people now dont have any manners they don’t care about our country and general well being of the nation,its all me..me..me… you see When ” the powers that be” desided to turn our schools upside down for political correctness sake , they did so with the effect we are feeling now, like a lot of things the torys put on this once great britain in the 1980….was they really thinking about the effect of their actions??? did they really save money closing mines dock, steel etc when 30 years down the line when whole comunities are decimated by unemployment and 3rd generations being bought up on benifits ???? did it really save the country money buying from abroad instead of keeping our own in work?? children should’nt be learning to loose and cope with loss on sports day !!! it was part of growing up part of being a team and a team player ” There is no I in team…. you brush yourself down and shook the hand of the winner and got ready to make sure you won the next race… now we have ” the I want it and I want it now attitude of people I’m all right Jack , kids are bought up not knowing the word NO and parents who think throwing money at kids is the right way to bring them up…and because of this everyone doesn’t care we’ve become a nation of selfish greed ridden parasites, who care about nothing but who’s goin to win X factor or whos dating who now on the ever lenghing list of z celebs, people who think its their god given right to have money paid into their bank accounts each week to spend how they like then claim they cannot work because they are depressed or have a dependancy on drugs or alcohol…. which the law abiding tax payer has paid for, but probably couldn’t afford to buy themselves. ….not until it hits their pocket.. not till they have to worry about their money not being paid….. sorry I’m waffling,
    but people just look out for their own interests and nowhere is this plainer to see than in westminster, we need to stand arm in arm demanding that the people in power who don’t forget are our servents do what we ask, that they for once listen to the people of this country.

  6. Galaxian permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:58 pm

    In the USA, Fox News, the ultraconservative media outlet, is very in-your-face with everything. The liberals must air largely on the government-subsidized Nat’l Public Radio and Public Broadcast’g System (TV). And these are not strictly left-wing networks; they are more of a “community” forum. Of course, the Tea Party has proposed to pull the plug on NPR because they fired Juan Williams.

    I can see that civility, while much to be preferred, may not work anymore in today’s rancorous political climate.

  7. April 16, 2011 4:47 pm

    Great work,webmaster,nice design!

  8. October 13, 2011 1:00 pm

    ‘I want Cameron to stop pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining’ – this is gold. Another great post. I might end up reading all of these…you write so well!

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