Friday, December 15, 2023

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Do you ever come home from spending time with a good friend and feel you’ve been a boring conversationalist with not much of interest to say?

It’s happened to me twice in the last week. And last night I dreamed I was in a group of people I didn't know and the idea of a book group came up and they all seemed very keen and then when I asked two separately, in succession, if they wanted my contact details so we could set up said book group, they declined, and it felt as if it was me they were rejecting, and not the book group.

It could be because I’ve had a filthy cold and it’s made me feel low in ways other than physical. Or have I been particularly boring/lacklustre this week? 

Or is it because there are some very important things I can’t bear to talk about?

Dave knows I don’t want to talk about the genocide in Gaza and the western world’s complicity because it makes me sink so low I’m in danger of drowning, and nor can I bear much talk about this disreputable and compassionless “government” and its fixation on making the lives of refugees and asylum seekers even worse than they are already. (And you can bet that before the month is out, the majority of them will be merrily singing about a homeless couple having a baby in a stable and not join the dots.) 

It’s not that I avoid the issues. And I do what I can to help. The problem is that there is not much that ordinary people can do in the two cases above, except give money to the appropriate charities, protest, protest and protest, and be kind to everyone, including and especially the dispossessed.

I know Dylan Thomas was talking about death, but this phrase seems appropriate right now in a much wider context - Rage, rage, against the dying of the light. 

Two letters in the Guardian today are certainly raging. The first is from the human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith

I am not sure that Rishi Sunak is showing enough commitment to win through on his Rwanda bill. His legal team deems it consistent with the rule of law to pass a bill overriding the UN refugee convention, and his goal is apparently to deter people from coming to the UK.

As a longtime human rights lawyer, I offer a modest solution: why not announce that we have had enough of the woke adherence to the UN convention against torture, and we will waterboard those fortunate enough to avoid drowning in the Channel. That should put them off.

As for children, the UN convention on the rights of the child is really just mollycoddling, so when they have overcome seasickness from the crossing, put them in solitary confinement in the Bibby Stockholm, the prison hulk in Portland.

Please just call for more free legal advice.
Clive Stafford Smith
Bridport, Dorset

 I wonder if TV bosses might be interested in the idea of replacing I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! with a new reality show, in which contestants are dropped in a war-torn or repressive country – the likes of Iran, Afghanistan, Syria or Rwanda – and then required to make their way to the UK (Nigel Farage to swap the jungle for the Tory party? At this point, why not let him at it, 11 December).

I’ve already come up with a number of ideal participants, such as Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick, Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mark Francois and, of course, Nigel Farage. But I am sure that fellow Guardian readers could come up with other names to add to that motley crew.
Jim King

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