Over the last week I’ve been “contributing” to Guardian articles in the comments area, but all it does is perturb me – utterly inane discussions about education cuts, immigration and the like, and the impression that the thirties are slowly but surely coming around again…

On the issue of education – when I went to Poly/University there was still a general understanding that access to education was for everyone who had the ability to complete the course, but that access would be affordable. The ideal behind it, of course, was that education should be free, entirely funded by taxes.

This view slowly changed as I started and Thatcher began cutting into the welfare state, but it was twenty years later under a Labour government, that substantial fees were introduced, and they began to wonder why working-class participation in education began to plummet. Now the middle-class are up in arms with talk about at least doubling fees, with a minimum (sorry, maximum) of 21000 pounds for a BA/BSC degree. Workers comment that this is a good thing since they are no longer prepared to fund degrees from which they don’t benefit, as if they were personally responsible for allocating their taxes. Everyone thinks of education as personal gain, ignoring any benefit education brings to society as a whole. But the idea of “free” education has flown the coop – depressing. But Britain does get to keep Trident – very useful.

Immigration – almost too sickening to write about. An Angolan refugee, Jimmy Mubenga, was smothered to death during deportation by his private guards. What was perturbing was the general view of other commentators that this was sad, but that was the price we had to pay for dealing with immigration. Except that we didn’t pay for it, Jimmy Mubenga paid for it with his life. As I said, perturbing.


Been feeling a bit morbid the past few days. Don’t worry, nothing serious, it’s a favourite past-time of mine, and has been since I was seven years old and my favourite hamster was found dead of exhaustion on the pavement outside our house. He had run away – so I’m sure there’s a lesson in there for all of us, somewhere. (His name was Columbo, but there’s definitely no lesson in that, and this piece of information is quite irrelevant to the subject of this post…) Anyway, since then I’ve developed the habit of envisaging the mortality of both myself and those close to me – really, sometimes the days just fly by.

But it’s the juxtaposition between all that we cherish and the inevitabity of death which fascinates me. If we knew things would go on forever they would quickly lose their significance. Love (and hate) would become mere passing fancies which we could be sure would come again,until they became indistinguishable blips on our emotional scales – if we could still talk of emotion. No, the intensity of and vivacity of love is always outlined by the depth of its loss, and this, between people, is always ultimately represented by death.

Of course, it is always a tragedy when death exposes its brutish head and transforms our love for someone into pain. We cannot avoid running this gauntlet all through our lives, but maybe our consolation is that it would be a pale and bland life without it.

As you see, I could go on and on about this topic, but I’m feeling hungry now, and despite my dark moods, I would really like to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, otherwise, how could I enjoy my funk to the full? I think I’ll have a pizza.