Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 26/12/05


I'm in a crap mood tonight.

I was denied my lie-in this morning by what I can only call a 'grungy' feeling in my guts. Mucus, I think. I don't why it affects me when I'm trying to grab some extra sleep, but it does. It's Saturday morning, usually, the only morning I get the chance for some extra Zs, but the Bank Holiday brought the same result.

Add to this the fact that I don't seem to able to eat big meals anymore (an unfortunate problem to have at this time of year), and the fact that my blood sugar levels are through the roof (giving me that 'heavy-legged' feeling), and you can see why I'm rather pissed off with things at the moment.

Groups of pimples have re-appeared across my shoulder and on my right hip. And my right eyelid has started twitching, which makes browsing a right royal pain.

I don't know whether all (or some) of this has to do with the fact that I haven't used my lightbox since last Friday morning. I hope so, because I don't want my hypochondria to kick in with wild imaginings as to what else could be causing all this.

I'm also bored. So bored, in fact, that I started going through Blogger sites at random, just to see what a lot of total strangers are up to. I went through them with a large degree of listlessness. There are an awful lot in Portuguese for some reason. Then there are ones which are full of photographs (hey! there are special sites you can do that on, you know! Or, at least, create a different page to put all those pics of 'modern sculpture' or your bloody dog on!); there are the ones which have embedded audio/video on them, which leap out at you before you have any chance of stopping them.

And this is all before you even get to the verbal content of them. If it's not some hyperactive 14-year-old girl from Wisconsin who's unable to type anything other than txtspk, it's a whole load of other Americans who absolutely insist on telling you about their special relationship with "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose blood my sins were washed away" (sounds pervy to me, buddy); or it's the wet-behind-the-ears-and-around-the-crotch college Republican who insists that Bush is surrounded by a governmental machine which has been infiltrated by red Islamic vegetarian Democrats who are planning on assassinating the little monkeyprick and replacing him with a world government under the control of the Illuminati.

Well, I suppose freedom of expression is indivisible, and it takes all sorts to make a world (but just a few sorts to destroy it). But all this did nothing to elevate my mood. It merely bore in on me ever more firmly the realisation that things have got much worse in 2005 if you believe in the right to dissent. Here, in the so-called United Kingdom, peacefully protesting against the Government's policies can get you arrested and sentenced under anti-terrorism laws. That same Government is hell-bent on introducing not only an ID card system which will be hideously expensive and deeply dangerous, but now wants to add systems which will be able (at least, in theory) to track everyone's motor journeys at any time.

In the equally soi-disant United States, the authorities can spy on you, tap your phones, intercept your mail and trawl through your private life without a warrant because some DC shyster has told Bush he has the power to authorise it and that that magnificent document The Constitution is "just a goddam piece of paper". You can have your ass hauled halfway across the continent to be thrown in solitary on suspicion of being active in environmental campaigns, and have corrupt prosecutors throw charges at you which carry mandatory minima of thirty years in maximum security; charges which they know they can't prove, but will use against you to try to get you to cough to something (plea bargaining must be the most odious practice ever introduced into the legal procedures of an allegedly free country - it reduces justice to a mere commodity to be haggled over).

So, as we stand on the threshold of 2006, the same crooks, bunglers and murderers are in power in Washington, London, Moscow and Beijing; they are surrounded by the same amoral chancers from ideological axe-grinding cliques and avaricious corporations, and the media are still stuffed with people who defame the honourable trade of journalism by merely regurgitating the vomit which they themselves are fed by that self-same élite, rather than doing what they are supposed to do: question power and the powerful on the real issues facing our world, and keep questioning the bastards until you get the truth out of them. Instead, anyone deemed 'unsound' to those in power is either silenced by being denied access to the media; or, where such a tactic would be too obvious (as in the cases of, say, Noam Chomsky or Harold Pinter), reported in such a way which encourages the great publics of our lands to think that these few voices are 'brilliant minds, of course, but dreadfully wrong'.

And so it goes. Indeed, so it has already gone. We are facing assaults on our liberties which are as dangerous as the assaults from the same sources on the ongoing viability of our existence as societies and as a species. We are all encouraged to talk about something else, to think the same as everyone else and consume ourselves to extinction.

What is worst of all is the feeling that there is no pulling out of this dive into the Land That Reason Forgot. Who (singular or plural) will save us from our zombification? Hard to see. The official political opposition in our respective countries is either enfeebled by its own cowardice or stymied by its own desperate desire for power for its own sake, and hence trying to outflank the governing party on exactly the same extreme. In DC, in Westminster, in the Duma and the People's Assembly, the cry goes up: "We will do the same, but we'll manage it better!".

Happy new year.