This morning, I wake to rain, and war. I stand under cover in the garage to have my first cigarette of the day. The rain is too heavy to stand outside. I feel the beginning of a possible panic attack when I think about Ukraine, when I think about the evil of men, when I realise I am too powerless and helpless to have an effect on anything that’s happening, that’s going to happen. All I can do is talk about it, and think about it. The panic subsides when the rain lifts a little. It’s 6:30 a.m. and I have to prioritise my day job right now. When 7:30 comes around, I’ve done the most urgent stuff.
Piece-meal thoughts and notes and movements. Jagged, this morning. More urgent tasks ticked off the list that’s a day long. There have been other mornings like this – a shattering morning in June 2016, a similarly juddering morning in February 2020; and many others where my eyes have been weary from the moment I woke up and my brain remembers what’s happening on the world stage and I have to ride the huge troughs and minor ups. It’s part of the territory, all the territories my life inhabits. That doesn’t make it simpler for this pacifist, this man who’s more articulate writing than speaking, but who would sometimes be more comfortable roaming the streets than sitting in his study watching screens and doing calculations while waiting for emails, phone calls, and WhatsApp messages.
I finally got round to sending a lengthy email to my MP yesterday complaining about her lack of response to most of the emails I have sent her since September last year, which I copied to the Parliamentary Commissioner For Standards. Surprisingly, I got a fairly rapid response from the Commissioner’s Office which, unsurprisingly, let me (very kindly) know that there is not actually an authority or individual which monitors MPs’ behaviour towards their constituents, and that it’s actually up to MPs’ discretion as to how they treat their constituents. So much for holding elected representatives to The Nolan Principles. And this is what makes politics in the UK (and elsewhere, really) rotten to the core, a rottenness that spreads from the very top of government down to parish councils (read lots of my older blog posts about this canker at that level).
Shrapnel. In all senses of the word.
The rain still hammers down on the roof of the study. This morning, the rhythm is particularly unsettling. The seasons are confused. The shrikes of war and death skim low across the rooftops, and swoop into all our lives. There is no hiding place.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 12