The Self-Isolation Blues

We have reached an awkward time in our great nation’s history where the vast majority of us are trapped at home desperately trying to find a way to avoid all of those jobs we have promised our spouses and ourselves that we were going to complete whilst knowing deep down that we had more intention of riding downhill sitting on a cactus in a shopping trolley with a wonky wheel over speed humps.

I, like the rest of you, have a list of things I should be getting on with which are not procrastination, and like you I am completely failing.  Therefore in the name of doing as little as possible, I have made all the wonderful stories I have published free on Smashwords as part of the author gives back sale.  The aim of the sale is as it says in the title, to give back.  If our stories offer a sense of distraction, maybe the odd snicker, or provoke some form of cognitive function then we will be doing our bit to fight the self-isolation blues and hopefully offer some comfort in the darkest of times.

Thus all that is left to say is go forth my friends, stay indoors and take care of everyone that you love.  To download the 47th best collection of stories written by someone named Scott Andrews, click here.

Till next time.

An Anthem for Coronavirus

As coronavirus sweeps the world and people run out panic buying toilet paper for an illness that will make them cough and not shit, I have largely been watching on with some bemusement.  The widescale paranoia and the complete selfishness makes me wonder if we do not actually deserve it.  I am old enough to remember a different world.  My Grandparents, only two generations removed from me, survived a war by coming together and helping their neighbors, and here we are 75 years on, in an age when grown adults have fistfights over toilet rolls.  Something somewhere has gone badly wrong in the evolution of humanity, and what made us great and unique has fallen away and left behind a more primitive way of thinking.  The truth is that if people genuinely did care about each other they would be looking out for the vulnerable members of our society rather than themselves.

After eight years, Existence Is Futile has finally gone out of print circulation.  It is a decision I have not taken lightly.  It will continue to be available as an ebook.  In the meantime, I am considering a second edition in the future, for the simple reason that I love the story and it would give me an opportunity to honor it in the way Professor Henry Tomlinson deserves.

I hope to be publishing a concept book later in the year.  I know that normally someone should write at least five books before they disappear far enough up their own arseholes before trying to share some self-indulgent nonsense, however, I have decided to jump ahead and do something that pleases me for the simple reason that life is short and we will all be dead soon.

My former band YU recently released a new music video entitled ‘Bang Bang’.  By all means, take a look here,

Speaking of YU, the singer Kuba was recently on a television show in Poland.  As always, he was delightfully eccentric and made quite an unexpected choice of song…

Just the other day I was idling between the news on television with its constant sense of impending death whilst scrolling through Twitter and reading about the forthcoming apocalypse when it occurred to me that I had likely written the perfect anthem for the coronavirus epidemic some years ago.  It is poignant, accurate, and holds a poetic truth.  Enjoy.

Until next time.

 

 

 

For the Many

For the past few days, my conscience and I have been engaged in a wrestling match.  The infamous poem by Martin Niemoller has been echoing through the chambers of my mind.

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

With less than 48 hours to go before the United Kingdom elects a new Prime Minister, we are sitting at a crossroads not seen since the 1930s.  I will leave anti-extremist activist Maajid Nawaz to set the scene:

It is a thought that had occurred to me previously.  In a time when people are struggling why not promise the world?  It allows you to gloss over the murkier details of your own plans.  And that is the saddest of realities that have brought me to this moment.

As I watch many friends and acquaintances fall in the love with the idea of receiving free stuff in lieu of their morals, it hastens me to wonder why.  Countless times I have asked myself whether it is only me that believes that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are anti-Semitic?  Surely the fact that in the twelve years since the Equality and Human Rights Commission was formed, only two political parties have ever been investigated for racism – Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and the BNP. That speaks volumes.  But that’s just a report, right?  Well, what about this collection of 125 anti-semitic examples of elected Labour officials?  But that’s just a few (125) bad apples. Where is the actual evidence?  Well, here it is, in a painstakingly researched article by Sara Gibbs.  But it’s just you, nobody else thinks that.  Aside from John LeCarre, Fay Weldon, Joanna Lumley, William Boyd, Simon Callow, Antony Beevor, Sathnam Sanghera, Janina Ramirez, Trevor Phillips, Jimmy Wales, Suzannah Lipscomb, Tom Holland, Frederick Forsyth, Peter Frankopan, Ghanem Nuseibeh, Dan Snow, Fiyaz Mughal, Tony Parsons, Dan Jones, Maajid Nawaz, Oz Katerji, Nick Hewer, Ed Husain, and Terry Jervis.

So why does it matter to me?  Personally.  It is a question so elemental it should not need to be asked.  It is 2019 and we have reached the point where over half of the Jewish people in the UK, approximately 120,000 human beings, are seriously considering leaving the country, depending on Thursday’s vote.  It would be the largest exodus from our shores since King Edward I’s Edict of Expulsion in 1290.  From a human perspective, it is vile that in the present day so many people would feel unsafe amongst us.  The second reason is that I have lived in a society where anti-Semitism was omnipresent.  I spent a decade in Poland where inexplicable hatred and assignments of blame to Jews was commonplace.  The seething resentment often manifested itself in acts of aggression and sometimes violence for the simple reason that when the governing party was of an anti-Semitic mind, it affected social behaviours as it raised the barrier of common decency which used to prevent people from acting in such repulsive ways.  And finally, and most personally,  I am of Jewish ancestry.  Somewhere down the lines of time, it is possible that my ancestors had to flee.  Perhaps they lived in fear.  Perhaps they too were marginalized, hated, persecuted just for the mere fact of what they believed in.  Had things turned out differently, it could quite easily have been me.

Anti-Semitism does not begin with violence.  It begins with words.  Isolation.  Marginalization.  Gradually the norms of society change, and the gates that keep us safe from the worst of the world disappear.  It can become violence.  It can become assault.  It can become murder.  If some of us do not choose to stand guard at these gates we run the risk of making the very same mistakes that we claim to have learned from.  I am not asking you to vote Conservative.  I am asking you not to vote Labour. A vote for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party is a vote that says that the hatred of the Jewish race is fine by you.

I’ll leave you with a final thought from some people who know a little more than me about anti-Semitism.  Thanks for reading.

 

The Future of Brexit

It was the year 2345. #Brexit still has not been agreed. In the Peoples Democratic Republic of #Corbyn the people are starving and wandering the streets aimlessly, wondering if we are racist, xenophobic or anti-semitic?

The national GDP has shrunk to size 8 trousers. Medication no longer exists. The path to Dover is littered with the cobwebbed corpses of HGVs, their drivers’ mere skeletons. All food apart from the humble lettuce has disappeared from supermarket aisles.

We are both in and out and in and out of the #EU which now encompasses three-fifths of the Earth. The #EU parliament is now located in 365 cities. Relocating every day. Straight bananas are now legal. Bent bananas are now contraband.

The ghostly corpse of Boris Johnson haunts the corridors of Westminster, howling I told you so. The NHS no longer operational, now treats every disease with a cup of tea, made from the skin of untreated eczema patients.

Super Gonorrhoea has trebled in strength. It is now Spectacular Gonorrhoea. The constant stream of immigrants long dried up as poverty takes hold across the land. The legal tender, Adidas clothing, replaced the crippled pound over two hundred years prior.

Nigel Farage is alive and well and spends each day in speakers corner, gibbering about foreigners and dribbling on his own shoes.

As we face the end of what we once knew it suddenly dawns on all of us. They were all right. We are richer and poorer. Sicker and healthier. We are in and out. We are #Brexit, we chant in unison, as we follow the guidance of our leaders and begin eating each other’s brains.

The Ministry of Silly Walks

Two days ago the British government announced a strategy to stop people feeling lonely.  In a time when public services are being cut down like enemy soldiers in Rambo III, it seems utterly preposterous that the government now intends on spending money in an effort to identify precisely why people are feeling lonely.  It does not require twenty million pounds to realise that human contact is the cure for loneliness.

When I first read an article about the strategy for loneliness prevention I thought it was a joke.  In one article it made reference to the minister for loneliness I could not help but laugh.  It could not be true, so I thought.  A few minutes later google confirmed that the UK does indeed have a minister for a basic human emotion.  It troubled me on many levels.  First and foremost was the name.  If the minister for health was responsible for making us more healthy, and the minister for trade for making more trade, surely the minister for loneliness was meant to make us more lonely.  Would she travel the country executing our spouses and telling our friends that we secretly hate them?  The second and most troubling thought was the fact that the government are looking to minister our emotions.

Loneliness has not been the only somewhat peculiar topic on the agenda.  In the same week the government has announced a minister for suicide prevention.  Granted it is a significantly more appropriate name, and yet it also left me with a sense of disquiet.  When the two new ministers are considered together it becomes apparent that the government has become acutely aware of a mental health crisis across the UK.  The pertinent question is whether there is a genuine crisis or is this a case of a government encroaching on Big Brother territory.

In 2017 there were 5,821 suicides in the UK.  In a country of over 65 million people it sounds like a drop in the ocean.  When you look across Europe you find that although it is the fourth highest total in Europe, it is also the fourth lowest suicide rate in Europe.  Therefore, it seems strange that the government has chosen to pursue these two policies in a time of austerity, whilst slashing so many other services.

It is evident that across the country the budgetary cuts have played merry hell with mental health services.  It perhaps would be wiser to give the services that are in dire need of more funding the money earmarked for figuring out why people are lonely.  The fact is a lack of access to therapists and counselling, as a direct result of a lack of funding causes loneliness.  Overstretched mental health departments having to prioritise people’s problems causes loneliness.  Stupidly long waiting times for people suffering anxiety and distress cause loneliness.  Worst of all is that all of these problems, if fixed, would likely contribute to a lowering of the suicide rate and save actual lives.  It is not rocket science, it is basic human empathy.

If you like me are feeling exceptionally lonely, feeling isolated by a government that throws money at identifying the problem with people, rather than the problems caused by the system, feel free to contact our minister for loneliness.  I’m sure she will do her best to help…