20 March 2017

Oh my god, a change is coming – can you feel it?

Of course a change must come! All the signs are there. We have wealth inequality that has returned to Victorian times. We have 50 million refugees across the world – the most people in transit since the Second World War ended. Depending on where you stand on climate change – with, on the one side, the 97 per cent of scientists who say it’s a certainty, or, on the other, Donald Trump taking advice from his wig, like the deludo chef with the rat under his hat in Ratatouille – you can’t argue with the fact that we’re demonstrably running out of lions, fish, glaciers and sparrows. I’d like to think they’ve all just popped down the shops to get the papers and some fags, but I suspect they’re kind of … extincting.

With industry in terminal decline in Britain – replaced by financial services and banking – the best contribution the average, low-wage citizen can make to the economy is to get in debt. Hence the lack of willingness to deflate housing prices, and the subsequent huge mortgage payments.

And the shift to fees for higher education – thus tying young people into long-term loans. The average non-mortgage debt of a British citizen is £10,000 – plus interest. And this huge national debt is a key part of our current economic model. We are now an economy largely based on people buying money. It’s seen as normal. But it is, of course, incredibly risky behaviour – because if interest rates go up, so will the number of people in financial ruin. This seems like a … bad plan.


We are a species that is always on the move – all our civilisations were built on the run. There is no walking pace. There is no rest.

And then, of course, there’s inequality – the frankly mortifying under-representation of the working classes, women, people of colour and the LGBT community in any seat of power – business, government, finance or media. The under-representation of the majority of people, in other words.

Things are … unbalanced. There are too many monopolies and bottlenecks. The spread of power – of ideas – is puckered and lumpy. The upward generational rush of social and economic improvement – the hallmark of the twentieth century – has ended: my children and your children, are, by all indices, set to fare worse than my parents, or your parents. If history has taught us anything, we know that, by necessity, a change will have to come.

Because a change is always just about to come. One of the delightful delusions we have as a species is that changes only occur very rarely – and when they do, they are seismic, and sudden. In between these seismic changes, everything is still, and peaceful. Old maids cycle to church, and the thwack of cricket bat on ball, etc., etc.

In reality, change is constant. We are a species that is always on the move – all our civilisations were built on the run. There is no walking pace. There is no rest. Change was happening yesterday, and last year, and now, and tomorrow.

You are, infinitesimally, changing things now, by Tweeting, or drinking Fairtrade tea, or booking a flight, or talking to your child about Equal Marriage – or, more likely, listening to your child tell you about Equal Marriage, because your children are often far ahead of you. They cannot remember the past, and they see more of the future, because they will be in it for longer than you. That’s why they’re posting pieces about teenage coders in Ghana on their Facebook pages, or telling you what ‘vontouring’ is (don’t look it up. It’s plastic surgery for your vagina. You don’t want to know. Just imagine your flaps looking like the Bride of Wildenstein and leave it at that).

So! A change is coming – and there’s no change there. As far as humanity is concerned, change is business as usual.

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