My grandfather was an achingly intelligent man who died at the age of 85 after a long period of medically-induced dementia. Nearly 15 years later, I still feel the effects of his death profoundly.
You wouldn’t have liked my grandfather – not if you occupy what is, in something of a misnomer*, known as the political left.
Despite the background he came from (he was a farmer), he was a product of his time. His views on social issues in particular are completely at odds with everything I hold dear today; gay rights, reproductive freedom, co-habitation, defence of the vulnerable and ill, the right not to be persecuted for not being religious, yadda blahdeblah.
You would not have liked him if you knew him only for these issues. Neither would I.
But despite this, had you chosen to celebrate his death, I would consider you to be beneath contempt. I don’t particularly give a fuck if he wasn’t the single most influential person in the United Kingdom during some formative years of his life or not. If he had been, his convictions – however misguided they may have appeared to you and I – would still have guided how he conducted the power afforded him.
Apparently* George Orwell once said:
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
I tweeted this quote on Saturday after reading this horrendous story:
A female disability activist had her home raided yesterday by South Wales Police who attempted to intimidate her into stopping posting comments on Facebook critical of government cuts and specifically the Department of Work and Pensions and their attacks on the rights of disability claimants.
In her own words:
I’ve just had the police forcing their way into my flat near midnight and harrassing me about my “criminal” posts on Facebook about the DWP, accusing me of being “obstructive”. I didn’t know what in f**k’s name they were on about.
As Tom Pride, the author of the piece quoted above, noted, this is the kind of policing one might expect in a dictatorial state, as opposed to a supposed democracy. And as @stillicides added, cliché or not:
…I feel like we’re living in 1984 right now – thought crime anyone? Terrifying, depressing, enraging.
I initially started writing this as a full historical post, explaining the development and the nuances of my current political views – but what’s the point of any of that? I’m trying to comment on something current and my feelings on that; the past does not require re-hashing. So let me get to the point.
Last week something nice happened. Not to me specifically, but some things transcend the realms of the personal. Every now and again, I feel proud of my little country, and last Wednesday was one such time.