Wednesday, September 14, 1983

Middle class revolt

This morning Dad gave me a lift up to Admiral Street and I signed on for the last time. I was anxious in case I met anyone from the RCP again (they’ve been harassing one of Lee’s friends), so I slipped into the office and out again very quickly, but the coast was clear.

In the car back I was congratulating myself; it’s so stupid, this self-inflicted anxiety. I’ll be OK now until Barry or Carl Cotton dredge the unpleasant sensations back to the surface and I have to face them again . . .

Dad went up to Nanna B.’s in the afternoon. She rang earlier to ask if he'd take her to Gillrigg to visit a friend; he’d intended giving her a run out, but not taking her all the way to Gillrigg, and so for half an hour or so before he set off I was treated to his aggrieved complaints about the selfishness of his mother: “If I ever get like that you have my permission to get rid of me.”

Yet he takes it all lying down. He says this is because there’ve been countless rows between her and us in the past and he wants no more, but his desire for general calm has led him into a cul-de-sac of personal misery. Both he and Mum are burdened by their respective mothers.
Our relatives seem such a drag. I dislike most of them.

With a sigh, Dad set off, dropping me in Farnshaw so I could go to the dry cleaner’s. It was very pleasant just wandering about in the mild air, everything seeming very leisurely and unhurried, but my journey was unsuccessful (half-day closing) and I had to walk home empty-handed.

After a bright start, the day has degenerated and it’s colder. Rain threatens. There’s a big dispute going on in the pages of the Echo and on local news over the introduction of halal meat into Easterby Schools. To pre-stun or not to pre-stun? There’s much debate over the morality of animal suffering and the “cheek” of minority groups “imposing their alien cultures on the majority,” and thereby (presumably) subverting white Protestant England.

It’s a pretty immaterial question really. The smug millions whose consciences are eased because “at least my Sunday joint doesn’t cause anyone any suffering” should take the time to visit an abattoir and see the room where the animals die, watch the skilled killers at work and smell the stink of fear and crap and blood. But all this said, vegetarianism smacks of odd priorities to me. I wonder how many bask in muesli-ridden middle-class meat-less self-righteousness unmindful of the millions who die worse than animals in other, larger slaughter houses across the globe? But I’m no different and the fact that I eat meat doesn’t separate me out from the vegetarians because I’m as blind to the world’s problems as anyone.

I dislike the naïve tone of this sermon-rant, and really it’s no big anger that seizes me, just the merest of thoughts.

I don’t mention any of this with a view to saying ‘stop’ in any real, practical sense, but merely to acknowledge that all ‘civilization’ is the flimsiest of foils, and that civilization's sustaining principles are those of crass ignorance and brutality. Billions of devotees take these to heart and uphold them with a savage loyalty. What hope is there for man as a whole? We’re all cut off from one another anyway, in real terms. . . .

And with this, I’ll climb down from my podium because I’m going out to meet Deborah, Steve and Jeremy at The Moon Inn.

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