Monday, 2 March 2015

Why conservatism won’t work any more

You, your family and all your closest friends along with all your most valuable possessions are stuck aboard a bus that’s teetering on the edge of a cliff that’s crumbling underneath you as in The Italian Job.

Gravity still works because gravity’s real because science, see? and if the bus falls you will all fall with it to possible death or certainly injury and the risk of drowning or hypothermia if, for example, the cliff overlooks a lake or the sea.

It gets worse.
Your family is divided and not really helping with either a solution or an escape plan. Your children follow various cults that preach the virtues of falling off cliffs on the one hand and the impossibility of falling off the cliff on the other so they aren't about to move to the back of the bus to rebalance it so the back wheels might just gain a bit more traction. They don’t believe in back wheels or care about traction anyway, because Tinkerbell. They watch a lot of Disney.

It couldn't get worse.
At the back bus are noisy passengers who don’t care whether the bus moves at all because they’re happy skinning up and flirting and passing a bottle vodka round. Some of them are unpacking fireworks which are pretty and don’t you believe in a little harmless fun, Dad? The people on the back seats won’t sit still let alone let you into the back to rebalance the bus or help you open the emergency door because they’re having fun telling their friends about their day. #OMG. #I can’t even. Because your wife insisted on buying new loft insulation, a barbecue and a new shower curtain recently and has demanded two foreign holidays per year for the past twenty years you jacked in your karate lesson and the gym subscription so you don’t fancy your chances trying to force the party animals to help or simply get out of the way. And there are a lot of them and anyway your wife and kids think they’re just having a bit of fun; so no harm done.

It gets worse.
Some other passengers are starting to move forward, unbalancing the bus even worse and threatening those still seated; shaking them down for valuables and copping a feel of the girls and maybe roughing up anyone who objects – and you family shouts the objectors down (including you) as killjoys or snobs.

We’re going to need a better word for worse.
There’s a mob of strangers outside rocking the bus trying to get in and they’re not only going to add weight and tip it over the edge if they do get in but if you believe what they say (and you’re the only person on the bus who believes them except some pasty-faced old chap cowering near the back) they’re going to take your seat and steal your possessions on the way down and they have plans for your wife and children that don’t involve asking your opinion.

It’s worst.
The driver and conductor of the bus (it’s a very old-fashioned kind of bus so it still has a conductor who doesn't do his job. But anyway)... Oh, right. The driver and the conductor believe that it’s not really such a high cliff and anyway it has a nicer view than the one from the nasty old road they just steered you off onto the harmless cliff. They announce with polite apologies that there’s been a little problem (which they call “an issue” because calling things problems can upset nervous people and nervous people do things that feel unacceptable to bus drivers and all their friends) and that if all the passengers will just hang on and be patient they’ll have the journey going nicely again… if certain passengers will just stop complaining (and especially complaining about the other passengers who are on board like the rest of us whether they bought a ticket or not), and so stop complaining about the crew and the other passengers.

And your plan to survive and fix all this is to insist that the driver engages the hand brake?



Anonymous said...

In the Italian Job it's the back of the bus hanging over the precipice

North Northwester said...

Well spotted Anon, but I have to say that the Italian Job is one of those great films you never really have occasion to watch all the way through again while sober.


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