Sunday, 14 March 2010

Rage ascendant

There's a lot of anger about. Yesterday morning in the corner store stubbly track-suit man came in for his 'Sun', saw a queue of three for the till and left his twenty pee on the counter. The Sri-Lankan checkout girl tried to give it back to him, motioning him to join the queue. Suddenly he exploded with rage; "I'm not f...ing queueing! You've got your money!" and stalked out. It woke us all up. It even woke the Nigerian security guard up.

In the office I caught a senior colleague, a man known for his equable temperament, kicking the photocopier, jammed with papers he needed for a meeting for which he was already late. The IT manager is having a breakdown and his PA fields phone calls with 'he's gone home sick' with increasing frequency; abusive emails have mushroomed recently as work pressures mount and the office systems are unequal to the task.


On the train last week, as a large baby buggy blocked much of the door zone during the rush hour, a professional thirty something bloke squeezing into the available space looked directly at the guilty mum and asked "Oh for f...s sake! How sensible is this?" to which there was no reply. We've all been harassed and inconvenienced by 'buggy rights' for years now, but this was the first time I'd heard anyone fight back.

This was also the week in which with my red pencil I'd removed £40k's worth of ludicrous self-indulgent crap from a construction drawing, bling geared only to the designer's portfolio photograph on completion, not to the client's needs or the prescriptive design brief I'd issued. The architect was incandescent with rage and sent me a very foolish email. I replied that I was perfectly willing to determine his contract immediately, and would he prepare a final fee account. Cue abject grovelling from his partners over the course of the afternoon.

In Tesco last week, bag-rationing led to a massive row three tills down. The store is apparently issuing each till with a box of free bags a day, and once these are gone customers are asked to pay 9p each for a 'bag for life'. An Afro-Carib granny wasn't standing for it. The supervisor was summoned. The manager was summoned. Her inspired invective against global warming brought a smile to my face.

At least another half a dozen minor incidents recently - queue rage, trolley rage, general impatience, people voicing things they don't usually voice - and I'm sensing there's an ascending general rage building up. The speed with which Old Holborn and Anna Racoon raised Nick's freedom money was driven by the anger of suffering smokers. In smoking shelters across London there's an inchoate anger against authority in general - 'the council', 'the government' or more often 'they', the 'they' that are the great grey indistinct suffocating presence of the State in one guise or another. The most popular rallying cry of the day is 'Get off our backs!', raising a heartfelt cheer of support whenever it's vocalised. If any party wants an election slogan, 'We'll get off your back' will win a few million new votes.

But it's not about party differences. That the three main parties are all the same is a truth universally acknowledged. Whenever politics is discussed there is absolute consensus that we loathe them all. Immigration is a running sore. Food inflation, less noticeable to those with mortgages enjoying low interest rates, has hit those on low or fixed incomes hard.

Neighbourhoods filled with boarded-up pubs as they are here, destined to be redeveloped as homes for immigrants by the hated Housing Associations, as they are here, are a popular provocation. There's no doubt that the white working class are the angriest, but the white middle class are close behind them. And our Afro-Carib population, the most assimilated of all the new Commonwealth cohorts, close behind them.

Targets of this anger are also inchoate; Muslims, Africans, East Europeans, the priviliged, bankers, the amorphous political class, the tax-wasters, those who make and enforce rules, 'they'.

Quite how this rage will manifest itself on 6th May I don't know.

20 comments:

marksany said...

I fear the anger will result in a low turnout, nothing else- whatever outlet is there?

talwin said...

While it may be true that "the three main parties are all the same" it is still the case that New Labour has for 13 years presided over Britain's decline. Theirs wholly is the blame, not the Tories nor the LibDems.

The Great Simpleton said...

"he speed with which Old Holborn and Anna Racoon raised Nick's freedom money was driven by the anger of suffering smokers"


At least one non-smoker contribute - me, and I'll bet I'm not alone.

The problem is that a low turnout will be seen as them "not getting the message across" and demands for yet more of our money to tell us what we should think.

A mass ballot spoil will be ignored by the BBC and MSM or dismissed as the work of cranks and/or idiots.

Witterings From Witney said...

"That the three main parties are all the same is a truth universally acknowledged. Whenever politics is discussed there is absolute consensus that we loathe them all. Immigration is a running sore."

Therein lies the problem - and will the electorate take the obvious course of action by voting for 'minor' parties? Whatever the consequencies of such an outcome ie a hung parliament with MPs of 'minor' parties, it would serve as a wake-up call to the 'big three' and the electorate, as they may find those 'minor' MPs more sensible, trustworthy and 'country-proud' than they think.

the mole said...

I`ve yet to see much dialogue regarding the general mood that will prevail in the country should Labour sqeak in again.
Once the MSM have saturated us with the "a historic fourth term " stuff how are you and I, the man in the street, the families with kids, the productively employed,the pensioners, how are we going to feel ?
The consensus appears to be one of resigned exasperation with many pipe-dreaming of moving abroad; there are already many references to "another five years of Brown ", the implication being that we will all knuckle under and accept our fate.
I live in the West country, tradionally a political backwater but the mood I detect in the pubs, in the builder`s merchants, in the supermarkets is one of a slowly bubbling and seething anger at what has been done to our country.
If Brown gets in there is no knowing how this will pan out.
I don`t smoke but I chipped in to the Nick fund too.

Guthrum said...

The architect was incandescent with rage

After thirty years in the construction industry baiting architects is one of the few pleasures left to me !

Telling them that there drawings 'don't work' or are creating a budget over spend of 170% are my favourites, the riposte is 'but I am a professional architect' my riposte usually involves gales of laughter- huge stress buster.

The LPUK Campaign Slogan for this year is nothing about fairness & change- its just Get Off Our Backs

Anonymous said...

Its palpable. You really can feel a difference. No, not Britain - France! When I go there, its like having a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. The sky is bluer, people are happier, civic pride adorns the streets of every village.

And when I come back, the reverse is quickly evident.

Next March, I'm not coming back. I just cannot envisage another 5 years of Labour. It just can't happen.

Coney Island

Blue Eyes said...

That is very true Coney Island. We often don't realise "stress" until it has been lifted. I went to France the other weekend and realised how much less "stressed" the place felt. Of course the French have their own problems but your observations are spot on.

I have been surprised by this rage too. Our window cleaner at work said he reckoned it was the combination of recession, political messiness and the cold winter.

Ed P said...

Let's hope this rage translates into anti-statist voting patterns in the forthcoming "idiot census" (brilliantly coined by Brian in Racoon's comments).

Sue said...

The sole reason for my departure was driven by a feeling of nausea at the thought of aiding this government in their "diverse, equality, socialist nightmare" and their illegal wars with my tax money.

I did notice the change the last time I visited. There´s a definite mood swing amongst the British.

They´re either very angry, depressed or have completely turned their backs on politics. I even know people that get so angry, they refuse to chat about the subject with me.

They have been ignored, dumped upon, ripped off, lied to, bullied and deceived. Most would leave the UK if they could.

The last 13 years will go down in history as the "modern dark age".

hatfield girl said...

What Sue said.

Elby the Beserk said...

And I am another non-smoker who contributed to Nick's fund, gladly. As for the UK? Well, we well may head to Ireland if Brown gets in again, on the basis of the following UK/Republic comparisons

1. Third World Status
...UK - Tick. Eire - Tick
2. Economy
...UK - Fucked. Eire - Fucked
3. Politics utterly corrupt
...UK - Tick. Eire - Tick
4. Government all over you like a rash
...UK - Tick. Eire - Cross

And that will do; it was odd being in West Cork last year, and suddenly realising that CCTV cameras were almost totally absent, and that the roads were not festooned with cameras, roadside or fixed to bridges.

Enough of this. If the UK elects Brown again, it deserves the disaster that that will bring with it.

Rossa said...

Talwin says: "While it may be true that "the three main parties are all the same" it is still the case that New Labour has for 13 years presided over Britain's decline. Theirs wholly is the blame, not the Tories nor the LibDems."

Sorry can't agree as the whole point about having an opposition is....? And that's all part of the problem like it is in the US. We have a one party state, nominally divided into 3 groups, all huddling round the centre ground and now descending into personality politics only because they can't have any real policies to speak of as they are decided in Brussels and most people are now becoming aware of just how impotent our government has become. Too busy implementing the diktats from the EUSSR commisars. Even the Russian press has picked up on how we're increasingly under the jackboot of the totalitarian fascist state.

In government but not in power! Let alone completely out of touch with reality. We need a major wake up call and we're not there yet.

To be controversial here I want Brown to win even though I'm a natural conservative. Why? because whoever has to clean up the mess is going to get it in spades and I'd rather it was GB picking up the doo doo he's created. If the Tories win, they'll be out sooner rather than later which will result in NuLab round our necks for decades.

I'd rather see the Tories fail and have to look again at how they have helped disenfranchise their natural electorate before they stand a chance of getting the keys to No10.

Either that or there will be a revolution. Don't think it will happen? The PIIGS economies are an example of what may hit these shores later this year. The global population is getting restless and it won't take much to spark it off. There will be a tipping point down the line and no-one will be free to crawl back under the duvet to hide.

Robert said...

At the moment rage is impotent, directed at each other when those of us who are angry with our Elected Traitors need to send them a message.

So, as we were a nation of shopkeepers I've taken your excellent idea and created a 'get off our backs!' T-shirt Shop

Aurelian said...

I'm another nonsmoker who donated to Nick Hogan's freedom fund.

I have been a lifelong Conservative voter but I won't vote for them again. Far from "detoxifying the brand", they have utterly poisoned it with their pusillanimous, mendacious and stupid behaviour. There's neither honour nor sense left in them. I could never again believe a word they say, nor could I take any of their policies seriously.

We have three Labour parties now, and they think the forthcoming election is going to be a cosy game of musical chairs.

Dream on, Lib/Lab/Con.

Peter Whale said...

I am retired in a house by a river 15k from St Emillion France,where they produce my favourite wine. I play golf , go fishing and do what I feel like. I am angry and full of rage at the political class in the UK. I want them to suffer as much humiliation that is possible to inflict upon them.

Charlie said...

Perhaps the least pleasant manifestation of a nation's rage is in its road manners. I'm not an old git, but I get thoroughly spooked by the sheer hostility that seems to prevail on the road nowadays.

Sam Duncan said...

“We have three Labour parties now”

Count yourself lucky. In Scotland (and, presumably, Wales) we have four.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable.
I live in Germany and have a female friend that is a tour guide for a large tourist agency, last year they sold 580 trips to London for 5 days, this year NONE ! why ? The agency specialises in ex USSR people who live in Germany and Austria, to get a tourist visa, their is only one office in Germany/Austria and you must present your applaction in person, fee 80 pounds, 3 to 4 weeks, from my house it is a round trip of more than 700km, England has been sold to idiots, wish those that can read the best of Luck

Gallimaufry said...

I'm another nonsmoker who contributed to getting Nick Hogan freed from the only public institution where smoking is still allowed. I don't like smoking but I hate being told what to do by spiteful idiots who hate my country.
I'm thinking of standing as the None of The Above Reach The Pass Mark Candidate in order to give other free and thinking people the chance to positively register a vote against crap politicos and policies. Abstention doesn't count, it's like not turning up to a lynching.