The pretty face of oppression. Arch-villainess Anna in 'V'
I'm supposed to be recording the final links for Chopsticks At Dawn (BBC R4) tomorrow, but bronchitis has duffed up my throat and everything's swimming like a fever dream. Sorry, not a fever dream. Just media coverage of the election. Back under the duvet where it's safe ...
AAARGH! Just peeked out.
I thought I was watching the Scyfy series V, where the Fifth Column under the fabled John May is struggling to organise itself from atomised particles in order to fight evil Anna and her people-devouring cohort. A bit like the Labour Left up against impossible odds. It makes as much sense as anything else I'm seeing.
So Labour dumped Brown and is about to replace one right-winger with someone from another right-wing group of cutters. The media shove Jon Cruddas at us as the only left-wing choice even though, as I am reminded by Red Snapper, “Cruddas voted FOR the war. FOR oppressive terrorism laws. FOR persecution of asylum seekers. FOR ID cards. AGAINST enquiry into Iraq war.” However, they ignore the very existence of John McDonnell who has demonstrated integrity and genuine progressive views over the years.
The cuddly Lib Dems have ripped off the mask and revealed themselves as the Orange Book free-market privatisers and service-cutters that they are. Thanks for giving us the Tory government to which you were supposed to be opposed.
And look at who's in the new Tory leadership: Ken Clarke who, as director of British American Tobacco thought it OK to peddle his cancer-wares to a new generation of Chinese youth when sales in the West nosedived, is now "Justice" Minister. And torture supporter Peter Ricketts is head of National (In)Security. Hi, Peter. I look forward to being on at least one of your lists. (But be warned: I'm very particular about dungeon decor and I don't look good in a ball-gag.)
So what's in store for us?
A quick trawl around recent news stories shows us a world being restructured along the lines of the Eloi and the Morlocks in The Time Machine.
The Tories want to plunder our public services. Their financier Lord Ashcroft refuses to pay the taxes he owes — a Wapping (sic!) £120 million over ten years of digging in at his Dr No hideout in Belize.
Tesco posts record profits. Bankers are doing very well. I keep hearing we have no money and yet there’s plenty at the top. When Blair came to office there were no UK billionaires — Richard Branson was worth a few hundred million. Now there’s squillions of them created during one of the weathiest decades in British history.
Meanwhile, Paul Chambers is fined £1,000 and given a criminal record for a private expression of frustration in the form of a bad joke over the closure of Robin Hood Airport. How very thought police of the authorities. I don't think they care about Chambers' guilt or innocence: they're just flexing their muscles and practising for when there's serious social unrest.
Everyone (at the bottom) is being criminalised under new laws, whether for downloading, finding new legal highs, or taking photographs.
Police are acquitted of assault charges when one batons a demonstrator at the Ian Tomlinson memorial protest. No-one's prosecuted for police killings. The practice of "kettling" peaceful demonstrators for hours goes unchallenged. While housing construction has all but ground to a halt we have plenty of shiny new prisons.
The way this is set to run, there’ll come a time when we’ll look at China and envy them for their freedoms.
But remember, kids. "John May Lives".
- About: British Chinese poet, writer and broadcaster Anna Chen
- On the radio
- Arts Reviews
- The Steampunk Opium Wars
- Foot and Mouth Campaign
- RSC The Orphan of Zhao controversy
- A Bad Case of the Trots
- Reaching for my Gnu: poetry
- Print Room protest: In the Depths of Dead Love chronology
- Poetry Live!
- Yellow Peril Orientalism