Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ghostlands

One of the most chilling commentaries I ever read concerning the Ulster Troubles was with regard to an early Catholic victim of Loyalist violence who was shot outside a Belfast pub that he had went into after hours with work colleagues. His mother recalled how her son had realised right away that the atmosphere was bad there and told his friends he wanted to leave. He was murdered shortly thereafter. Sobering words indeed with regard to the mindless and random nature of so much violence in Northern Ireland during three decades when a literal blanket of evil and waste fell across the country.

Albeit in non-fatal respects it is quite clear that much of mainland Britain has also become enshrouded with darkness since the latter half of the last decade with rank greed, jealousy and avarice. I have recently re-read Dan Atkins and Larry Collins' THE GODS THAT FAILED economic overview of the period when a commonality of wealth was meant to organically flow from the point when financial services became the vanguard of all economic life.

The afterglow of oligarchic excess and credit-strapped and galloping austerity for the middle classes not having been thrown up in advance as a potential side-effect of such fiscal wizardry of course. And this as copperfastened by the twin cultural dynamics of gaping disassociation from our national past and the dearth of any hope for the majority of the working population as regards an aspirational or even sustainable future.

When the good ship Glasgow Rangers was dashed against the rocks of financial witchcraft earlier this year - as analysed in Phil Mac Giolla Bhain's jawdropping Downfall -  it stirred lost shadows of once-associated and now extinguished Scottish small business thrift and Clydeside industrial might alike.

Great Britain in turn now resembles the kind of dream-like tropical island that a cruise ship would bypass on the way from Southampton Docks to southern climes in days of yore  - golden beachs and aquamarine surf fronting pestilential swamps, leprous villages and something unspeakable seeking sacrifice in the foggy and sulphurous interior.

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