Of course most people are seeing the Partygate affair as the tip of a toxic political iceberg. As the chance to aggregate our political disdain for such things as sending people to Africa who have almost died on swimming pool inflatables.
But is there any political clarity, calm, order, thoughtfulness coming out of this maelstrom of rancour and frustration? Or is it just a sludge? Are we entering into an era of the complete weakening of the word of government? And will what comes out bring us to the promised land?
It’s not surprising to see the dislocating of government making for good headlines. Surprise, reversals, political chaos pumps the adrenaline around the media faster than anything. They all await some late-night outdoor revelation as politicians jump in cars and are swamped by reporters; counter-productively getting no answers at all. Why? Because hopefully someone has fallen, is pushed, is dumped by the party.
Everything seems filmic these days. Even loud, raucous young people celebrating the power of drink and money to forget about everything and everyone else. Would the partying youth really care about Partygate? They probably care more about how many parties and celebrations they can attend before the prison of adult life settles around them.
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Prosperity is the key to lifting people out of poverty, and I’d like to know where that is going to be found in our current period. The enormous damage done to our social and political life by Covid has not been absorbed. Our bulging hospitals and delays and cancellations at airports are just two signs that chaos is being encouraged by shortages brought on by Covid. Inflation is Covid by another name you might choose to see it as. It’s certainly as crippling and as undermining.
A good bit of cool thinking, dispassionate and careful reflection would not go amiss. But most commentators seem to be egging us all on towards a permanent riotous assembly. Breathless speculation is everywhere. Perhaps we may have to weather this storm and hope for clarity later. It’s certainly a bit of a shitstorm going on.
John Bird is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Big Issue. Read more of his words here.
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