Starting From Now?

tom paine quote

We can only start from where we are. There is no going back. Cultural diversity in urban geographies is a reality across much of our land, as is, economically driven class division.

So, what comes next? The anger, stress and grief of many citizens is becoming something of a norm. This feels like a watershed moment in Great British life.

In a few short weeks we have experienced terrorist atrocities, chaotic coalition scrambling at the very top of our political system, and the obscene slaughter of many disenfranchised human beings.

The search for answers is upon us. The yearning for change is obvious. The national mood is febrile. There is an elephant in the room. Demands for another election before the latest administration has even been formed correctly is almost unthinkable. Most folk are ‘politically fatigued.’ YET, many protest that ‘more of the same’ is in no way a viable option. There seems no sense of calm, no appetite for settling for ‘what we have,’ and post Grenfell Tower, no clear confidence that the powers that be have the ability to bring peace or stability to proceedings. Simply put, we appear to have a national existential crises of previously unimagined proportions.

Change will surely come. Sooner, or later, change will come. Perhaps the question most pressing is ‘how’ change will come. By those in power, determinedly acting with enlightened self-interest, after accepting the situation for what it is? Or though the prism of a disobedient, forceful populace, fuelled by future horrors as yet unknown?

There may be a metaphor to focus upon in the Grenfell Tower catastrophe: shiny, new cladding to the outside, re-branding to the max; dangerous, poor, unreformed interior beyond common view within…?

There was no ‘invisible hand’ to save the retched souls inside the immediately infamous tower block. Equally, ‘the profit motive’ did not drive officials or contractors to do what was needed or expected.

Surviving families who had previously escaped bombing, depravity and torture in other parts of the world, only to land in a substandard living space turned hellish inferno do not have the luxury of clear thought and comfort. The rest of us have time and safety. Many folks surely understand the grotesque irony of Grenfell tower – an irony that is as compelling as it is prescient.

Starting from now, what comes next? ‘Ideas on a postcard…’ Maybe a touch of clear leadership would not go amiss?

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