The stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.
The sun had hung low on a clear-blue sky, its blasé gaze lay upon that oft-beaten path which snakes its way through the parliament of trees crowded at the northern edges of the Wyken Croft Nature Park.
They had stood huddled and conspiratorial amongst the gloom of the bush and the shrubbery on the banks at the river Sowe, witness of all who pass there.
The trees had determined to cover themselves for the arrival of Spring with all manner of leaf and blossom and flower abloom and vibrant, the birdsong swooning amongst their waking branches, the Earth beneath them stirring into energetic, chaotic life.
Winter had been a long ache and it got longer every year, the winds had come, punishing their young and their old and their weak, tearing them from their roots and dashing them all to splinter but now that long ache was over; our most ancient fear had retreated to whence it had came, the lingering darkness and the monsters who had dwelt within replaced by the springtide, with rebirth and rejuvenation, renewal and resurrection and regrowth, a great anticipation shimmering in the tender breeze.
The good times never last.
Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.
– Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms.
I had woke with a head full of thunder and the day just dwindled from there. Any spark left had been buried beneath an avalanche of invoices and delivery notes, the sour stench of the open-pit next door stinging at my eyes.
An Eddie Stobart driver screamed and bawled in the simmering queue, the sky crashing down over a ten minute tipping delay.
Nothing can wait anymore, life barreling by…
I took a break.
The latest racist-xenophobic-discriminatory rhetoric had been left to spew from the tabloids lay scattered about the canteen,
Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad.
I still don’t care. Because in the next minute you’ll show me pictures of aggressive young men at Calais, spreading like norovirus on a cruise ship.
When had it been exactly? When the desperate and the poor and the vulnerable had become the scapegoat for our broken society and all its ills?
Had this always been the case? Had I never even noticed? Am I that fucking blind?
These poison scrawls had been accompanied by the nods of mindless approval, an odd racial slur, a shit-specked keg of venom left to wallow in my brainpan
Men argue. Nature acts.
And so, as I took the long walk home with the broken corpses of the winter trees still mouldering amongst the dirt at my feet, I had heard the voice.
The voice of a king, perhaps.
She is warming, our vale, from North Pole to South and
Our entire Kingdom left in ruin, ravaged by storms of the like which had brought such devastation over the Saturnalia in AD 2013.
They, said the voice, will become ever more common.
You allow this to happen.
Listen. Listen at the pearls of the wise,
Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.
and fools alike,
The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.
I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill but he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.
It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.
No man, however powerful, can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it.
The world we live in.
Flooded in shit.
The collapse of a large part of Antarctica is now unstoppable, vast tracts of heavily populated coastline around the world face inundation with millions likely to lose their homes.
Between 200 to 2,000 of our planets species are becoming extinct
The Apocalypse is already here!
or so the saying goes,
It’s just not very evenly distributed!
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
– Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926–29.
Ah, but to bury our heads in the sand! What an undeniably human trait!
The year was 1241.
Europe had ignored the desperate warnings from the East of a vast and formidable Mongol army, one which had laid waste to every land in its path, from the Khwarazmian Empire of Central Asia to the Russian Principalities.
It was an army with its bow aimed squarely on Europe’s breast.
Europe had been consumed with what, in comparison, had been a petty squabble between Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Pope Gregory IX; a squabble stemming from Frederick’s apparent tardiness in departing for a promised Crusade and an off-colour joke Frederick had made, jesting that Moses, Christ and Muhammad were three imposters who had themselves been hoodwinked.
Only vaguely aware of the storm upon the horizon, Frederick left King Béla IV of Hungary, the Kingdom at the forefront of the attack, to gather and field the largest army marshalled on European soil since the times of the Roman Empire, in vain hope of stemming the tide of these impossible invaders.
Béla, of course, failed.
It had only been the premature death of Ögedei Khan, second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, shortly after that had halted the wave which had threatened to flood Europe, the tide falling back toward Asia to crown it’s new Khan.
And the Emperor and Pope continued their petty squabble, never quite realising how close they had come to extinction, the utter annihilation of everything they had ever known.
The Mongols brought terror to Europe on a scale not seen again until the twentieth century, yet life went on.
We teeter out here on the very edge of everything, content that the world will always turn and the sun will always set.
A glimpse at our history should be proof that this is simply not the case.
Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
– Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt.
A sumptuous banquet had been prepared in honour of King James I’s visit to Coventry in 1617 but it would not take long before relations between the monarch and Coventry would deteriorate, with protests made against his request for a considerable contribution of ‘ship-money’ in 1635.
As consequence, when Civil War broke out between King Charles I and Parliament, Coventry would become a stronghold of the Parliamentarian forces. On several occasions Coventry were attacked by the Royalists but each time unable to breach the city walls.
The King would make an attempt to take the town during late August in 1642, appearing at the city gates with 6,000 horse troops but the Cavaliers were beaten back by Coventry’s garrison and her townspeople.
It was in 1662 then, after the restoration of the monarchy, when revenge was exacted for the support Coventry had given to the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. The city walls were demolished on the orders of King Charles II, leaving only the few short sections and the two city gatehouses that remain.
When his son, King James II, would visit Coventry in 1687, he would receive a quite magnificent reception, an outward show of loyalty to the Crown, but within two years most of these same people would be celebrating the coming of William of Orange.
Round and round and round we go…
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressed class are to represent and repress them.
– Vladimir Lenin (allegedly quoting Karl Marx), The State and Revolution.
I wake at 5.20am for the long walk to work.
An alert lays in waiting on my iPhone, itself a product of Chinese sweatshops, child labour, occupational illness and Irish tax havens, itself a reminder of my unremitting hypocrisy.
Election results: Conservatives win majority.
and I’m sure I hear laughter out on the shooting range.
A mass of coiffed hair, designer suits and empty eyes strewn across the morning papers. Murdoch is laughing as I buy a pack of Sterling and the cheapest iced coffee I can find.
It is on this morning, 8th July 2015, that the feast will begin.
They will shuffle slowly at first, these pigs at the trough, perhaps beginning with the gains they receive through the growing income inequality, gorging as the many rely on food banks.
They kick it up a notch, on our rapidly dwindling public services, on zero-hour contracts, on the long, slow death of the NHS, on the slashing of benefits and immigration scaremongering, they consume consume consume whilst the likes of David Silvester and Katie fucking Hopkins stir up hatred and fear and pain.
They will feast on that fear.
Feast on that hatred.
Feast on that pain.
The Tories have won.
One-in three-children in Coventry currently living in poverty.
The Tories have won.
One-in-three households in Coventry’s poorest neighbourhoods are living in fuel poverty, 30 people dying every year as a direct result of cold weather conditions in the city.
The Tories have won.
2,711 vulnerable people hit by the Bedroom Tax, the average affected household losing some £780 a year in benefits.
The Tories have won.
Areas of the St Michael’s and Henley wards have been ranked as first and second as the most impoverished areas in the West Midlands, according to government statistics.
The Tories have won.
The long ache is far from over.
LISTENING: Watership Drowned, by Roadside Picnic.