The Eldorado of the Ordinary


Posted by in November's Magazine

I’ve never been an especially well-centred individual. Correction. I’ve given the impression of being well centred to conceal a filthy plume of chaos within. Yes, I’m deeply in touch with my inner ‘unhinged, wannabe radicalist, shouty tramp’. This vomit-encrusted ‘other’ occasionally breaks free from his cell to run amok, but is soon contained by mediocre compromise, polite blandishments and passive aggression.

Such is the tyranny of ‘The Middle’. A hateful harmony. A bilious balance. A suppurating stability, Shit, I’m turning into feckin’ Gyles Brandreth. I’d place him firmly in ‘The Middle’ actually, although I would add to that ‘…of a Sea of Dung’, as befits a man whose putrid outpourings are like flies round the rotting corpse of light entertainment.

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Hang on a minute, this isn’t going well, any modicum of ‘middling’ is drowning in apocalyptic asides.
Back to the mean, the centre, the fulcrum, the hub…the fabled ‘Middle’. Right now, in politics, there’s been much talk of this Eldorado of the Ordinary. And without wishing to tread on Protempore’s toes, I think it necessary to use that growing obsession with political geography as a launch pad for this molten rant. We can trace it back to the mass hypnosis that saw integrityphobe Tony Blair enjoy a brief but flawed apotheosis.

Once, like garlic bread (apologies to Peter Kay’s dad in Cradle to Grave), sanctimonious shape-shifter Blair was the future. His political legerdemain, entrancing all, appeared to have squared the circle and turned Labour from ideologically intransigent into electorally exceptional rather as if your drooling, piss-stained granny left the room and returned as Helen Mirren. And all because he’d conquered the hallowed Middle Ground. The mask soon slipped…

In effect, the Middle Ground is always going to be a railway carriage in the woods – a place of surrender. Those may sound like foolish words when our world is blighted by loony tunes fundamentalists. “Let’s find consensus, think of the children,” cry the understandably concerned citizenry. Sadly, the Middle has shifted so far from itself it’s no longer anywhere near the centre. Lost yet? Not as much as the Lib Dems I bet.
Being blunt, it feels that what once meant meeting your opponent at the net and exchanging tips on how to remove grass stains from your whites, has become a way of aggressively ‘othering’ anyone deviating from the signed-off establishment script. That script in turn has to be signed off by Middle England. And here’s where it gets messy.

I don’t care a rat’s arse what plays well with Middle England. Why the hell should I? They don’t care a jot for my views. In the past that wouldn’t have mattered (cue the theme tune to ‘Different Strokes’) but the Corbyn circus has flushed out something rotten. Namely queues of fawning drones of all political colours fretting about not appealing to the totems, tutting and twattery of some self-interested snobs in Buckinghamshire.

Admittedly, it’s hardly comparable with the brutalism of the minority Alawite hegemony in Syria or the murderous Sunni cabal that held sway over majority Shia Iraq before the great conflagration which achieved the square root of sod all. But it’s a suffocatingly smug line of thinking which conceals a creeping hierarchy of opinion. We’re all free to think something but only the anointed Middlers can make the political weather.

Conveniently of course, the brittle prejudice, stifling insularity and delusional jingoism of said Middlers synchs beautifully with the current direction of travel in the UK, roared on daily by the muckrakers, malice-spreaders and all-round manipulators in the mainstream media. Note again…‘mainstream’…as if character assassination, wilful distortion and rubbishing dead people is somehow the norm or, indeed, ‘The Middle’.
So if The Middle isn’t really in er…the middle, where is it? Missing, gone forever? Replaced by a middle outsourced to Bangladesh? Inside a locker in a train station in Darlington? My theory is, it’s been assigned a new identity and is hiding out in the Middle of Nowhere – although that would be the equivalent of hiding in plain sight.

Wherever it’s got to, the middle ain’t there in the middle anymore. The centre was vacated long ago. Rumour has it they were going to stick a Tesco Express and shitey flats in the gap (they grow like weeds around these parts). But for now it lies bare, a barren monument to the Overton Window’s (yup, I looked it up on Wiki – Ed) transmigration to a world of unregulated socio-economic Darwinism. A place where boggle-eyed ideological zealotry wrapped in some moth-eaten national myths is presented as the sober definition of common decency.

This topic has been thrashed into submission over the last month. Anthemgate being its high-water mark. No reprise here. Just a final Yeatsian reflection on the fundamental forces at work as we slouch towards some kind of twisted Bethlehem – sorry if that sounds a bit tinfoil-hattish.

“Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.”

I hate to say it, but I think old WB may well be proved right again, lest we reclaim The Middle.

3 responses to “The Eldorado of the Ordinary”

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