Ready for collection

I don’t know how many posts I’ve written on this blog about having manuscripts rejected, failing to win competitions, not being a proper poet etc etc. I didn’t think I’d ever get there, but I’m now extremely pleased to report that somebody wants to publish a poetry collection of mine. Yes, a whole collection – 58 poems, to be precise – by me and nobody else. I’ve had going on for 50 poems published by magazines, anthologies and websites but I wasn’t at all sure if or when I’d get to the book stage. I could have decided to try to publish a pamphlet (about 20-30 poems) first, but in the end I plunged in and went straight for a collection. And a publisher took it! I did have a rejection from the first publisher I tried, though they did think it was worth trying elsewhere. This was my second attempt, which isn’t bad at all by fiction standards. (I don’t know how many agents I tried with my novel before realising I’d need to rework it – again. Of which more anon.) And the acceptance arrived, as if by magic, the same morning that I sent in the full manuscript. Yes, I know – it is unbelievable. It just so happened that the publishers were having a reading day….

So here I am, a to-be-published poet, getting geared up for my book’s emergence in the second half of next year and already thinking about who I’m going to invite to the launch, where it’s going to be, what refreshments to have etc etc. Some people are a bit squeamish about launches, but if you’re a poet you have to get out there and sell your books. And the way to do it is to have as big a launch as possible, then follow it up by giving readings wherever you can, preferably with other poets who are also launching their collections. If you’re lucky you may be invited to read at various sorts of poetry gigs, but you will also need the chutzpah to ask for invitations and set up your own readings. No room for shrinking violets here. And it’s good to read and have your poems received by an audience, and to get better at it so that you really feel you can communicate, not just on the page but in person too.

Unlike most prose authors, poets don’t get paid an advance on royalty. They are given the opportunity to buy a number of their books at reduced price and sell them at full price, which hopefully makes some sort of profit, even taking into account all the copies you feel obliged to give away. I’ll get five free copies from the publisher, but I imagine I’ll hand out far more than that to people without whom… And of course you get a royalty on the copies that the publisher sells, but the publisher won’t be likely to sell very many unless you do the work of publicising the book.

Which brings me – ahem – to the book itself. I may as well mention now that it’s called A House of Empty Rooms and that it will be published by the lovely Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling of Indigo Dreams. (Don’t you love the names people give to poetry presses?) Watch this space for further details. I may even reveal my name in due course, having ditched the pseudonym as it was just too complicated to be two people at once. I decided the likelihood of my therapy clients reading my collection and knowing it was by me was so small that I might as well come out and be named. But you never know. I’m always surprised at the way people from one corner of my world seem to link up with people from other corners, and I’d just have to cross that bridge in the best way I could.

Anyway, I can now say that I’m officially A Poet and can well and truly stop worrying about whether I am one or not. I can feel equal to all my poet friends who have published or will be publishing collections, and when people ask me if I’ve got a book, I can say, ‘I’ve got one coming out next year,’ which is a lot better than ‘I hope I’ll have one sooner or later’. Now I have to start thinking about the next one, not to mention that novel…







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Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo


Mimi Thebo is another member of our illustrious writing group. She has written both  adult and children’s fiction and is a senior lecturer in creative studies at Bath Spa University. Dreaming the Bear is a novel for older children set in Yellowstone National Park. Mimi Thebo, who hails originally from Kansas, spent several summers in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and her descriptions of it have great reality.

Darcy, the main narrator of Dreaming the Bear, is a bored early teen who is uprooted from her school, her friends and her urban life when her father takes on a research job at Yellowstone. Darcy and her older brother Jem are living with their father in a cabin on the edge of the park; their mother is still in England. It’s the middle of winter with thick snow everywhere, and Darcy is recovering from pneumonia. She can’t go to school and has to walk every day to build up her strength. On one of her walks she climbs higher than she can manage and, exhausted, falls down near a cave where there is a female grizzly bear. To her surprise, the bear takes care of her. Darcy goes back to the cave and despite bear safety protocols begins to develop a close bond with the bear, who has been shot and wounded in the shoulder.

When the family is snowed in, Darcy becomes ill again. She and Tony Infante, the son of a neighbour, start to develop a friendship but she doesn’t tell him or anyone else about the bear. She recovers and when the weather starts to thaw she begins to worry about the bear, who should now be out foraging for food but is handicapped by the injury. Darcy secretly stockpiles food for the bear and takes it up to the cave, avoiding discovery for as long as she can. Eventually, still often unwell, she gets her brother to help her, but she knows that sooner or later the bear will come down from the mountain to scavenge in the town.

The book pivots around Darcy’s relationship with the bear and their close connection. Parts of it are written from the bear’s point of view, and at times when Darcy is seriously ill and out of her body she connects deeply with the bear. Through Darcy’s involvement with the bear Mimi Thebo shows us, touchingly and affectionately, how her human relationships begin to grow, especially that with her father. Her teen romance is handled with a light touch and we see her closeness to her brother. By the time her mother arrives at the end of the book, she has discovered the cause of her recurring illness and found the strength within herself to deal with a tough situation.

The book is far from all sweetness and light and will have great appeal for young teens who are on the brink of stepping into a more adult world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even though it’s a long time since I was a teenager!


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Facing it

Nearly everyone is addicted to something, and probably more than one thing, whether it’s tea or chocolate or cigarettes or booze or crossword puzzles or The Archers or running five miles a day. Or of course the Internet in all its many guises, not least social media. I’ve never had a Twitter account and wouldn’t dare open one: I know I’d constantly be tweaking my tweets. In the pre- and post-referendum days I could feel myself sliding into a serious Facebook addiction: reading article after article on Brexit and its ramifications, more articles on the state of the Labour party, friends’ opinions (everybody seemed to have one) about the situation, not to mention all the other things that people post, like photographs, poetry successes, funny or sad little anecdotes about their lives, and pointless quizzes that tell you how much you know about British (sic) culture or the geography of the North American continent – oh, and poems, which I have to confess I haven’t always read, as it gets a bit depressing when I’m not writing them myself. For a while I’d spend hours a day, getting more and more involved and wound-up inside, pulled back to the computer as though I’d been tied to it by elastic strings and couldn’t move away without being pinged back again.

Eventually it eased off. Since then the addiction has surfaced sporadically, more like an outcrop of spots than a full-blown acne rash (to mix a few metaphors). I’ve noticed that the times when it does tend to surface are those when I’m feeling unhappy or anxious or upset and want to get away from it: to immerse myself in a brightly coloured, endlessly compelling virtual world. What it gives me is a way of connecting with people I may hardly know in real life, a community far larger than – and in some ways a substitute for – the community around me; but it’s also a never-ending source of distraction from what I really am (or could be) thinking and feeling. Which may be painful. For me, as for a lot of people, the feelings around Brexit were troubling and painful, so what better way of dealing with them than by funnelling them into comment after comment on article after article, or diverting myself from them with the myriad snatches of entertainment that other people post?

It would be disingenuous to say that the feelings I’ve been trying to get away from are only about the political situation. Not that what’s happening in the world isn’t important, but alongside the drama of external events most of us are also living through the drama of our own personal lives. Over the past few months I’ve been trying to process a situation that isn’t life-threatening or even all that terrible, by many people’s standards, but that for me has touched into some of the deepest places of pain and loss. Some of the time, through meditation and Focusing – less through writing – I’ve been able to open to the pain, even welcome it, but a lot of the time I’ve avoided sitting in meditation, choosing instead to busy myself with chores or – yes – start checking emails and Facebook. And it doesn’t feel good. The pain doesn’t go away; it just burrows its way underground and emerges as headaches or tension or that wound-up, overstimulated feeling that comes from too much hopping around from clip to clip and site to site, especially if I’ve been drinking tea as well – another escape.

At those times when I am able to sit with it the pain may be intense, so that I’m not able to stay with it for very long, but I’m there’s also the relief that comes from no longer running away. And, as I continue to let it be there, I sometimes come home again to the sense of the benevolent space around the painful feeling, and an acceptance of it that can deepen until it sometimes stops being ‘pain’ and becomes simply a feeling or sensation that in the moment doesn’t have a name. I can’t say that always happens, but when it does the  relaxation and even wellbeing is unmistakable. In fact I could say that in that sense feeling bad feels good: the more fully I can meet it, the more fresh and alive it is.

And of course it isn’t always like that. Sometimes it really is too much, and sometimes an anodyne seems to be the best solution, especially if I have things to get on with and people to see. But I know that in the end what eases the pain best is facing it, not Facebooking it.


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The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen

9781408858431I’m privileged to be part of a writing group that has some hugely talented published writers, as well as some who are just as talented but haven’t yet been published.We’ve been going strong ever since we finished our MA at Bath Spa University and I’ve learnt a lot from everyone. Our members include Jane Shemilt, author of two bestselling novels, Daughter and The Drowning Lesson, Mimi Thebo, whose whose recently published children’s novel Dreaming the Bear has been much praised, Victoria Finlay, author of two fascinating and successful adult non-fiction books, Colour and Jewels, as well as The Brilliant History of Color in Art for young people, Peter Reason, another non-fiction author whose book Spindrift is both a vivid description of a sailing voyage and a deeply felt and deeply considered meditation on our relationship with nature, and Emma Geen, whose original and enthralling debut novel The Many Selves of Katherine North has just been published by Bloomsbury.

The Many Selves is set in a near future where the technology exists both to print living replicas of animal bodies, known as ResExtendas, with a brain stem but no higher brain function, and to allow ‘body jumpers’, known as phenomenauts, to project their consciousness into them, primarily for purposes of research. Katherine North works for ShenCorp, a company that recruits children and young teenagers as its phenomenauts, since their brains have greater plasticity than adults’. Most of them don’t continue for long in the job – for reasons that become clear at the end of the novel – but Katherine, known as Kit, has been body jumping successfully for several years.

At the beginning of the novel Kit experiences being run over and killed while body jumping in a fox ResExtenda, or Ressy. She survives in her human body but is profoundly shaken by the experience and starts to question her identity. She also believes she has encountered another presence, in the form of a fox, which does not appear on any of the records. Buckley Maurice, her neuroengineer (body jump guide/technician) who has been with her on all her jumps, is concerned about her continuing to work as a phenomenaut, but Kit loves the job and at the comparatively advanced age of seventeen can still pass the brain plasticity tests. She is committed to ShenCorp’s research programme into species that are endangered or little understood and resists when the odious Mr Hughes, supported by Buckley, tries to manoeuvre her away from research and into body tourism. This is a commercial project where those who can afford it pay to body-jump into a species of their choice – or even a human Ressy – accompanied by an experienced phenomenaut like Kit.

If Kit wants to stay as a phenomenaut, she has no choice but to accept the transfer. She struggles to continue doing what she loves in a way that satisfies her, and this throws her into conflict with ShenCorp. As she tries to deal with the dilemma, her life begins to disintegrate and she feels entirely alone. Buckley seems to have turned against her and to be responsible for the other presence, and she doesn’t know where else to look for an ally. Leading a feral existence, part human, part fox, she is determined to understand what has happened to her and reclaim her life.

What stands out for me in this remarkable and poetically written novel are the descriptions of the body jumps themselves, into species as diverse as a spider, an octopus, a tiger and a blue whale. Emma Geen makes us believe completely what it would be like  to experience the world as another creature while retaining human consciousness, and we can feel the respect for other species that this would give us. The book’s questions about humanity, identity and the relationship between mind and body are far-reaching and universal, but at the same time it is a very human story of a teenager finding her own way of being in the world. The Many Selves of Katherine North is deeply thought-provoking and a very good read.




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A novel approach

I’ve still been spending far too much time on Facebook, reading all sorts of articles about the current situation – or situations; there seem to be so many things going on. And chipping in my own two penn’orth whenever I’ve felt moved to say something. Things are dire, there’s no doubt about it, and I’ve been singularly unimpressed by the Labour MPs who’ve been gunning for their leader ever since he was elected and even heckled him in Parliament. If they think it makes them look more electable, the magic doesn’t work for me. The Chilcot enquiry has only told us officially what we already knew: that going to war with Iraq was neither justifiable nor effective and Blair had no right to lead us into it. I was impressed by Corbyn’s apology on behalf of his party, but it can’t have gone down well with all of them. As for the Tory leadership candidates, Brexit seems to have given them a free hand to push the agenda frighteningly farther to the right –when they’re not too busy making themselves even less credible and appealing than they were before.

I’m not going to apologise for the blatant political bias: I’m not required to be impartial here. Perhaps the fact that I’m being this blatant shows how high feelings are running generally. I’d like to be able to stand back and take a wider perspective, but when push comes to shove (I do dislike it when people say that) there are certain things I strongly believe and others I strongly don’t. However, I can do my best not to be so attached to my point of view that I can’t hear anyone else’s, and I can even try – hard though it is – to have metta (lovingkindness) for all of those involved, not just the victims and the dispossessed but even those who got us into this mess. Lovingkindness doesn’t mean agreeing with or condoning what they’ve done; it just means not losing sight of the fact that they are human beings too, whatever I may think of them. Sometimes I can do that to some extent and sometimes I can’t. I have to say I didn’t rush to sympathise with Gove when a friend of mine described him as a ‘mutant haddock’.

Enough of that… In the parts of my life that haven’t been taken over by Brexit, I’ve been trying – yet again – to revamp the novel I wrote on the MA course. After some difficult feedback I thought it had bitten the dust completely, but when someone whose opinion I value said some encouraging things about it and asked if I’d tried to get it published, I thought perhaps it might be worth resurrecting. Last year when I worked on it I changed the narration from first person to third – no small task – and now I’m painstakingly changing it back again, as first person feels more real and immediate. As I’m doing so I’m beginning to see the parts of it that are clumsy and in need of rewriting, or else probably redundant, and I’m also finally starting to get what people have meant when they said it needed more plot. However good individual scenes or chapters may be, what a novel needs is a taut structure and a movement that impels it forward. I don’t think my novel is totally without these – it certainly has a story and the main character goes from A to B – but for any novel to work, it has to be more than ‘this happened and then that happened and then that happened’. E M Forster, in his classic Aspects of the Novel, is very clear about that: “Yes – oh dear yes – the novel tells a story. That is the fundamental aspect without which it could not exist. That is the highest factor common to all novels, and I wish it was not so, that is could be different – melody, or perception of the truth, not this low atavistic form.”

Now I love stories and don’t regard them as a ‘low atavistic form’, but when it comes to writing a novel I wouldn’t say the plot was my priority. Nevertheless I would like this novel to work as well as it can. I would like there to be a clear sense of development and movement, and I would like the story to take the characters forward as well as the other way round. And I would like the characters to be interesting and engaging, the situations believable and compelling and the ending a satisfying conclusion. Of course I would – those things would make it a good novel. And I may or may not be able to do them. My main reason for doing this isn’t to get the novel published – though that would be very nice – it’s to learn how to go about writing a novel and how to craft it as exactingly as if it were a poem, where every word has to count and form and content have to work organically together. And that means looking at it on many levels, from tightening the language in places where it feels flaccid to taking out unnecessary scenes and chapters (or putting in scenes or chapters where the plot requires them) and thinking more carefully about the whole arc of the story.

Several of my friends are successful and much-praised novelists and a lot of this has become second nature to them – though often it isn’t achieved until a book has been through quite a few drafts. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I enjoy learning and don’t like to feel something has beaten me. And I have to give myself permission to fail. It may be that this novel will never be ‘the one’ – the one that I like and am satisfied with, the one that gets published. But I’m fond of the characters and have put a lot into it – and/or it has drawn a lot out of me – and I prefer not to waste anything that can still be used. So we’ll see…

What will happen with this novel is unknown but not likely to be catastrophic. What happens next in this country is also unknown. How catastrophic it is we have still to find out.







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Little me

Oh dear. For what was the United Kingdom, it seems the worst has happened. Not only have we voted ourselves out of the EU, but some of the people who voted Leave are already wishing we hadn’t. And Johnson and Gove, who it seems may have been gambling on the vote not going their way, aren’t exactly walking bundles of joy. Having shot himself and the UK in the foot, Cameron is stepping aside and letting his successors deal with the mess. Meanwhile both Scotland and Northern Ireland are wanting out, and without the Scottish vote England may well be condemned to Tory government for ever. As for those on the left who voted Leave, did they really imagine that without Europe we could somehow turn the clock back to the pre-Thatcherite, pre-EU days and re-empower the trade unions and re-nationalise the railways? If only… Leaving the EU is much more likely to give carte blanche to the neoliberals to dismantle even more of the welfare state, the NHS and all our legislation on employee protection and human rights. And of course the mendacious, rabble-rousing Farage is popping up all over the place and trying to get his oar in now that racism has stormed out of the woodwork. He’ll be putting his supporters in black shirts next.

I’m afraid that for the past week I’ve been spending an unconscionable amount of time on Facebook, reading articles, watching videos and hearing of people’s very real distress and concern. Of course the majority of my Facebook friends are middle-class lefties like me, so I’m only getting one side of the picture and not seeing such rejoicing as there may be, but if whole counties like Cornwall are already realising they are going to be worse off and asking the government to do something about it, it’s not looking good. There’s a huge petition going round – which I’ve signed too, though I don’t think it will do much – pointing out that the referendum isn’t binding and it’s for Parliament to decide, but the EU are already making it clear that now we’ve voted Out, they want us out as quickly as possible – and not on favourable terms. The pound has fallen disastrously, financial institutions are moving their operations from London to other capitals, and nobody really seems to know what the hell we’re doing. People are either disappointed by Jeremy Corbyn or fanatically trying to keep him in place, despite the fact that most of his parliamentary party won’t work with him and it’s not clear how Labour could form any sort of government in those circumstances. Sadly, he’s one of the few good men around in politics – everyone still says that – and what he says makes an awful lot of sense, to me at least. Perhaps the time has come for a new party that actually represents people. As things stand, there’s every likelihood that where there is an election the Tories will get in again (who do you fancy as leader? Michael Gove or Theresa May?), probably with a bit of help from UKIP who’ll mop up some of the disaffected Labour supporters.

The situation is there and it won’t go away, and its effect is huge and touches everyone. ‘The personal is political’, that great feminist slogan of the 1970s and 80s, isn’t around much any more, but what this whole referendum debacle is showing, in case we’d forgotten it, is that the political is profoundly personal. What’s happened to this country will affect all of us, whatever age and class we are and no matter if we’re immigrants or part of the indigenous population, i.e. immigrants from farther back. Whether we like it or not – and Margaret Thatcher didn’t – there is such a thing as society. We’re not just a collection of individuals and families all looking out for ourselves:we are members of smaller and larger communities and the way we relate to those communities both affects and is affected by the political situation around us. The actions of those in government set the parameters for our lives, and unfortunately we’ve seen all too clearly how self-serving and irresponsible those who govern us have been.

I’ve always been aware of politics. My father was a Marxist, though not a very active one , and I grew up believing the majority of politicians in this country had got it wrong. Later on, in my sort-of-hippie days, I almost got to a no-society-only-individuals place where I just wanted to do my own thing and be left in peace to do it. But even then I couldn’t not acknowledge that I was able to do my own thing because of the social and political infrastructure around me. And I’ve always protested, been on marches, carried placards – not entirely comfortable at being swept up in a mass of people shouting slogans but nevertheless feeling my presence counted.

In the 1980s, when I worked in Camden, I was surrounded by Militant Tendency supporters, but although I considered myself left-wing and was passionately anti-Thatcher, I never became one of them. The black-and-whiteness of their position, their contempt for anyone who didn’t wholly support them, put me off. I admired and respected Michael Foot but, man of integrity, orator and thinker though he was, it was painfully obvious that he couldn’t lead his party. (Unfortunately I can’t help seeing parallels here.) I remember hearing him speak at a CND rally, definitely the worse for drink, and feeling sad for him. Later, when Labour finally made it back into power in 1997, I rejoiced, even though I wasn’t sure what kind of political animal Blair was and thought Benn (Tony, not Hilary) talked a lot of sense. Then, as the Blairite project revealed itself for what it was and Blair took us into the terrible Iraq war, I became disillusioned. Politics in this country no longer seemed to represent me, or people like me, and even the Green Party didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I was busy getting on with my life and writing what I wanted to write, which on the whole wasn’t political.

Where we are now is a right mess, and I defy anyone to say it isn’t. A lot of the poets I know have been writing poems about it. Until the other day I didn’t feel able to, and then what came out was a song with the refrain ‘Oh, don’t you wish you’d voted Yes?’ (Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m a middle-class university graduate, albeit of baby boomer age.) Most of the time I’ve felt too depressed and pissed-off to write anything, especially as I’d already been feeling depressed and pissed-off for other reasons. But I’m still managing to write about it here and keep posting little nuggets on Facebook, or replying to other people’s nuggets.

When it comes to more serious writing, I’m seeing clearly how much in poetry and fiction I tend to favour the personal over the political. I’ve written a few political poems and in a novel I’ve looked at issues of class and ethnicity, but it all tends to be in the microcosm – the ‘little me’ rather than the broader picture. Now I’m questioning that, just as years ago I came to question my ‘little me’ desire to drop out. If I’m truly part of society, if I’m affected by what’s going on, how can I not write about it? And how can I do so in a way that’s honest and real and stays in touch with the personal too? Perhaps that takes more skill as a writer than I possess, or perhaps what it takes is a willingness to open myself fully to the bigger picture, to be deeply affected by the suffering of the earth and the beings on it. To see myself, in fact, not as ‘little me’ but as part of everything: the refugees in Calais and the people being bombed in Syria and the Poles and black people suffering racist attacks here. And that hurts. I don’t know if my heart is big enough to do it.







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You’ve never had it so bad

Warning: You are about to read a rant.

At the risk of being utterly boring I’m going to state here that, like most of the people I know, I’m voting Remain tomorrow. Having just heard a set of very cogent arguments from a professor of European law as to why Brexit would leave us in a total mess, I have even fewer doubts than I did before that it would be complete madness. The EU is very far from ideal in many ways – from TTIP to serious failings in democracy and transparency – but the alternative seems much worse. Do we really want to be run by a bunch of seemingly heartless neoliberals who want to demolish what little there is left of the welfare state and allow the rich to get even richer and the poor to get even poorer? Do we really want to cut ourselves off from the rest of Europe and go it alone when the consequences are so uncertain? Do we (the people of this country, not those politicians) really want to make closer ties with America just as it seems to be collapsing into mindless fascism?

As I lay in bed the other night I realised, in a horribly visceral way, just how easily all the above scenarios could come about. They’re not vague possibilities any more: people could actually vote for them, without fully realising what it would mean for all of us if they did. We can’t separate ourselves from what’s happening in the rest of the world and ignore our responsibility to the so-called ‘migrants’ fleeing from horror and destruction; and those of us who have a relatively comfortable life and enough to eat can’t ignore the increasing numbers in this country who don’t. My area has a food bank and people are generous about putting things in it, but every time I deposit my little offerings I’m outraged that I should have to do so – that there are people in my far from downmarket locality who simply don’t have the wherewithal to feed themselves and their families. Whatever Gove, Duncan-Smith et al may say, not having enough money to buy food isn’t a lifestyle choice. It means that you can’t earn enough, or don’t receive enough in benefits when you can’t earn, to allow you the luxury of eating.

When I was a child, in the Fifties, Macmillan’s slogan ‘You’ve never had it so good’ was often bandied about. Of course not everything was good then, or in the affluent, optimistic  Sixties. It never has been good for everyone, and in subsequent decades we began to see how not-good it was for some people, especially once Thatcher came into power. And all that prosperity based on fossil fuel was never going to be without cost. But until now I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong sense that things are getting seriously bad – so bad that people are making comparisons with the 1930s. I’m not just talking about Britain: the world as a whole is increasingly fractured by intolerance and extremism and the ravages of climate change are becoming evident. There is huge insecurity, and the more insecurity there is, the more people are ready to turn to extremist ideologies and simplistic solutions, which means a greater likelihood of war. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, Trump would have been laughed off the political stage. Now there is more than a possibility that the United States, which is already doing its utmost to dominate the world, may be run by a xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic plutocrat who could rally America’s disenchanted millions behind him into God knows what misguided crusade against whoever happens to be the enemy at that particular moment.

Even if we stay in Europe, the fundamental flaws of the whole neoliberal project aren’t going to go away. A system that enables corporations (not to mention individuals) to profit without restraint from the earth’s resources and the disadvantaged mass of human beings is on a course heading for destruction – whether of the system or the entire world remains to be seen.

I’m slightly staggered by the pessimism of what I’ve just written. I’d like to hope there will be enough people of integrity and good intent to make a difference at grassroots level, but politically speaking the Jeremy Corbyns and Bernie Sanders of this world aren’t the ones who end up with the power – the corporation-driven media make sure of that. Nevertheless I’m happy to side with them: for good old-fashioned socialism – now seemingly a dirty word – for care for the earth and all its inhabitants, and for respect for all human beings, not only those who happen to have vast amounts of money. Things may be bad, but we have to try to stop them getting worse.

Rant over – for now.


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