Thursday, March 01, 2007

Opening Discussion

I’ve been lying in my hotel room all day, waiting to catch a taxi to the airport. For this reason, I’ve no great adventures to recount. I’ve done nothing but read the Jules Verne and browse the web. You might say I'm wasting time in one of the world's great capitals but I'm keeping my head down, fearing that an appearance outside might lead me into more trouble with ‘the Washington authorities’.

This seclusion did, however, give me plenty of chance to look at the website that Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn have launched today for their 2020 Vision campaign.

Now, the Chipster wants to make it known that he’s all for the future. He thinks the future will be big next thing. You just can’t ignore it or it will be on us before we know it… Whoops! There you go! Just as I was typing that sentence, a bit of the future was here and I missed it. Well, we’ll just have to be more careful the next time… Damn! Too late… A bit more slipped right through my fingers.

You see how easy it is to get slightly manic about the future? It gets only worse once you realise that the politicians are all for it too. This 2020 webside, for example, is full of happy thoughts about tomorrow and the day after. And is it any wonder when we’re so resolutely marching ‘towards a progressive century’?

To be honest, I don’t actually know what they mean by ‘a progressive century’. It sounds a bit too much like a ‘progressive skin disease’. And what is ‘progressive’ about a century exactly? Is it longer or shorter than a normal century? Does it come in different colours? I don’t know. I’m just a stripper with a large thong collection. Terms like ‘progressive century’ are less meaningful to me than the sound of a well snapped piece of gusset elastic. Yet I know it has to mean something. It has to mean something when the people are spending so much money advertising it. I suppose it’s just up to me to figure out what it means.

They mean, I suppose, that in the future we abandon whatever we’ve been doing in favour of something else. Out with the ‘old thinking’ and in the with new. That sort of thing. We’re still not quite sure what this other thinking we’ll be doing will be, except it will be a damn sight better than the things we’ve been doing so far. In fact, that is probably an example of progressive thinking right there. I feel illuminated just being in its presence.

So, ‘progressive’ means we get rid of all that conservative thought that’s been holding us back for too long. And I’m all for that. After all, what has the power of conservatism ever given us except for a bit of civilisation for the last few centuries? We’d be a damn sight better off with something else and I’m brimming with excitement at the thought of burning everything down before we even begin to think of an alternative. What’s more progressive than a short period of anarchy? The most important thing is to rid ourselves of that horrible conservative thinking. We want radical ideas for a nation where a man can be proud to wear underwear on his head and call himself the Archmage Skinflick the Third.

Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn clearly have a good handle on how we should move forward. This website of theirs already declares that their ‘recent speeches’ are ‘coming soon’, which is how it should be. While we’re looking forward to the future, we can also look forward to the past. Policies are also in the future pipeline but that’s good since too we’ll be giving the old policies well before we think up the new ones. And if you’re getting confused, the whole thing boils down to one line: ‘Politics is about the future not the past’.

Apropos of nothing: I hear that dementia is increasing in the nation at large. That can only be a good thing given that it's all about the future and not the past. Whether we suffer dementia or not, we’ll all soon be living in the future with no though of what’s gone before...

History is history, baby. The Chipster says so.

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