On this day a year ago
A commentator on the blog reminded me of the clip below, not seen for a long time:
I still think that the most telling thing about Greta Thunberg is how the decadent mainstream media, politicians etc at least pretend to take this uneducated and afflicted girl (now 19) as some kind of sage, when actually she has nothing to offer. It says something about the world we are in today.
Levits— a half-Jew: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egils_Levits.
“Jack” Monroe, the “Bootstrap Cook”; some thoughts about “poverty”
I thought that it was worth reposting those tweets, which refer to the Twitter storm around “Jack” Monroe, aka “Bootstrap Cook” (mentioned in yesterday’s blog).
I have no particular animus against “Bootstrap Cook”, and I should imagine that many find her recipes and other advice very useful [see https://cookingonabootstrap.com/category/recipes-food/], but it is clear that she herself is not (now) in what most people would regard as poverty.
As to my own experiences of “poverty”, I have had some pretty low moments from time to time over the years, for example after I returned to the UK in Spring 1998, after a few months living in Egypt [https://ianrobertmillard.org/2019/03/07/when-i-was-not-arrested-in-egypt/].
Was I myself “in poverty” when I returned to London? It certainly seemed so!
Think living in a single room in a flat (provided by a friend of a friend— eventually, and very belatedly, months later, paid for by Housing Benefit). Think living largely off tiny State benefit for 3-4 months (monies also delayed for weeks). Think having to be a little bit “creative” in finding ways to travel around London, and equally “creative” in finding out how to increase supply of food and reading material (mainly books).
Yet only a few years before, I had quite often been paid, as Counsel, £1,000 or more for often quite brief (less than half a day) appearances in the High Court or elsewhere.
Later, living in the former Soviet Union in 1996-97, my home was a kind of large penthouse with a very wide wraparound balcony, I had a former MVD car and driver to ferry me to my office etc, a Rolex Seadweller on my wrist, and I rarely carried less than USD $5,000 on my person.
Incidentally, barristers reading this might sneer at the modesty of those High Court fees (perhaps a tenth or a twentieth of the fees some now get and even back then received), but this was 1993-95, nearly 30 years ago, and I was only just out of pupillage (on-the-job training). Anyway, it seemed good at the time to me.
What those born into wealth usually fail to know, having never experienced it, is how quickly a comfortable lifestyle can disappear, without personal capital or family money as a safety net.
When I was living on pennies —and my wits— in the London of March-June 1998, I often walked past Julie’s restaurant in Notting Hill, a restaurant patronized by film stars and other “celebrities”, and a place which I had previously visited several times, only 2-3 years before, and arriving in a large white Mercedes (a girlfriend’s car).
Maybe 3 years later, in 1998, I would have been unable to buy a coffee in the same restaurant, and I wondered whether those staring out of the windows could perceive somehow just how poor I was (maybe a subjective and resentful thought: after all, the Rolex may have gone, but I was still clad in an Austin Reed overcoat and Dents leather gloves etc).
There is no need for me to say more about that very pinched time in my life. Adolf Hitler had it worse, in the Vienna of 1909-1912. Eventually, my several months of poverty came to an end and then, less than a year after I had returned penniless to London, I was spending time living in a villa in the Caribbean, with a private beach (in effect), though those sometimes pleasant months sadly did not become sybaritic years (though I did spend much of 1999 in and around the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico— several Caribbean islands, and the Gulf Coast of Florida).
I later had more ups and downs, but that is enough for today.
I do not know a great deal in detail about “Jack” Monroe, the Bootstrap Cook, but I would guess that she knows a lot about “precarious” life in the Britain of today. Occasional poverty, occasional plenty, but not much security either way.
Many many people in Britain in 2022 are part of that “precariat”. This has political implications. Labour was the party of the industrial “proletariat”, mainly, a class which is now all but non-existent. “Bootstrap Cook”, leaving aside her personal predilections, is in that sense far more typical of the masses than would be the Soviet-style miner, rail worker, or other member of the organized labour force, insofar as such people still exist in the UK.
If there were a credible social-national movement in the UK, the “Bootstrap Cook” would probably not support it, but the “precariat” in general would, especially as inflation, low pay, and low State benefits all start to bite.
More tweets seen
Well, £600 is not a fortune for a watch these days (any of my one-time Rolex Seadwellers would be £10,000-£15,000 in 2022), but I take her point.
…on the other hand, Bootstrap Cook is, after all, from Essex, the home of “bling”…
Meanwhile, though the @norfolkchatter1 Twitter account has disappeared, the storm around the Bootstrap Cook has, if anything, intensified, with many Twit-people (including the terminally “woke”) supporting her, but also with many others either criticizing her or demanding to know exactly how much capital or income she really has at her disposal, and asking whether she is exploiting people who donate to her when they really cannot afford to do so.
Legitimate questions, arguably, though it is almost axiomatic that the poor (however defined) do donate more generally than the wealthy or not poor (however defined), relative to income. Also, people are assumed to be compos mentis; if they want to donate to someone, that is their choice. There are many worthwhile-seeming appeals around: see, e.g. https://www.gofundme.com/f/judith-thorpe-funeral-children-fund; and https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-if-you-can-help-to-keep-our-boy-safe.
[Incidentally, I do not know anyone involved in either of the two GoFundMe appeals above; I just happened to see them].
Looks like reality has started, finally, to break through…
Late tweets seen
Sometimes I wonder what, WHAT, would make the mass of British people wake up to the “panicdemic”, the nonsense measures such as facemask-wearing that were part of the scam, or to the “support Ukraine” propaganda or, as in that tweet, the very real dangers of the “Covid” “vaccines”, but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that nothing, nothing at all, will awaken the masses. A “victory” by a football team, or whatever absolute shite is on “reality” (unreality) TV that week, and the real and important issues are forgotten again.
Maybe after the nuclear war with Russia that so many have been brainwashed into (as they imagine) wanting to see, the survivors will see their reality more clearly.