It isn’t easy to string together those myriad concerns which beset anyone with the slightest unease over current trends in political affairs.
Situated as we are, within the trend, we do not have the inestimable benefit of hindsight. We do not have alternative words and phrases suited to numerous situations where the mainstream narrative is merely propaganda. Sometimes there is no mainstream narrative, it flows round important issues like a rock in a stream.
“Not something we discuss actually."
"What about that royal baby though.”
"Did you catch the football last night - see that goal?"
Or an uneasy silence followed by a change of subject.
If you are reading this, you’ve been there.
Because of course good names, good words and phrases have to be commonly accepted, part of an established narrative through which ideas are compared, adjusted and tested. The trend itself disallows opposing narratives, usually without wholly prohibiting them.
Persuasion is hopeless – these matters are seen as socially unsafe.
All this is natural enough of course – natural in the sense of something to be expected. The trend has its own narrative and is intolerant of alternatives because that is what it is to be a trend. So we are left with existing language and modes of discourse which don’t fit the bill, and we know they don’t which doesn’t help.
We have an unrepresentative political system, where collusion, fraud, lying and self-serving issue-mongers are astoundingly commonplace. Astounding that is, in our more detached moments, those where we stand back and gaze on these demeaning matters with an impassive eye. Not a jaundiced eye though, because that implies engagement, upsetting the delicate eye of detachment which as always is worth preserving.
As for the trend itself, it’s almost a trend towards nouveau feudalism – robber barons, aristocrats and peasants all over again. Feudal we might call it, except that it isn’t feudal because this time we peasants have full bellies, warm shelter and entertainment.
So feudal won’t do in spite of the parallels. In any event, it’s an old word with too much baggage. Not merely the romantic baggage of castles and knights in shining armour, but unromantic disease, ignorance and an early grave. These things set us apart from feudal times when what we look for is engagement.
Yet - collusion, fraud and self-serving dishonesty – how did it come to this? How do we say again what is already being said to no effect? Do we keep our anxieties in the background and get on with things?
What about the silliness?
There is lots of silliness about too – it’s part of the trend. Gushing headlines, gallons of printer’s ink spilled over the dull occurrence of a royal pregnancy. It’s no fault of the young couple themselves, but their ordinariness is so glaring, the certitude that they shall never say or do anything to upset the status quo. They will never give us good cause to sit up and take notice.
The sheer silliness of treating these royal persons as something special – it does seem to harmonise with feudal-lite as a handle on what we are going through socially and politically.
Feudal-lite? No it isn’t quite right, but it’s a tiny stone tossed into the swamp.