Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Gove-Santorum axis of immorality

Michael Gove is the antichrist, isn’t he? Surely? Or is it Rick Santorum? It’s got to be one of them. Maybe it’s both? Maybe they’re two halves of the antichrist, two snap-together segments. The Lego antichrist. And in the nightmare scenario, the antichrist-enabler Cameron is toppled by Gove’s satanic helpers (prop. R. Murdoch) — who then install their dark lord as PM and scoot across to the US to engage in a holy fiddle to rig the election for Santorum.

Then at their first meeting, the first Gove-Santorum swivel-in, the two shake damp hands and a spark and a purple flash herald the apocalypse. Jagged cracks bubble with lava, flying monkeys with little matching purple hats flock and swoop and snatch up children and animals, and the Daily Express worries about the effect on house prices, blames the BBC, and pins its hopes on a large photograph of Princess Diana.

I mean, how is it conceivable in the modern world, with all its facts and actual knowledge and stuff, that these two dangerous idiots aren’t simply guffawed off the stage?

It is said that a mere touch from the former Senator from Pennsylvania audibly and visibly leeches the intelligence from your bones; and that cameras watching him pass through a crowd are steered away to avoid spotting the desiccated husks crumbling into neat piles of dust in his wake.

And Gove, poor Gove, his grey face never far from confused over-tired tears, is busily thrusting Britain’s education system forward into the 1950s, ensuring institutionalised faith-based homophobia, and sucking up to his once and future boss Murdoch like the Tories of Thatcher.

I despair.

You know, I thought you were supposed to get more conservative as you age: shifting from denim to the elasticated waistbands of M&S and all the comforts of traditional bigotry such as the Daily Mail. Instead I find I’m becoming more militant: I am intolerant of intolerance, of ignorance, of idiocy, of demagoguery. I might be a Grumpy Not-So-Old Man. Or, more likely, one of those militant homosexual atheists everyone is allegedly so afraid of. I fear I am in grave danger of buying a pair of co-op hemp dungarees and selling Socialist Worker on street corners, and muttering fascist under my breath at anyone with a newer iPhone than me.

The irony, I suppose, is that what jiggles my frosting about Gove and Santorum and, in fact, most politicians, is their sheer immorality.

Gove, supposedly working for us as Education Secretary, but meeting every five minutes with Murdoch — who, coincidentally, wants to make lots of money out of education. And good lord: the first “free school” to sign a funding agreement with Gove was co-founded by Toby Young, who is now a political columnist with Murdoch’s Sun on Sunday and whose first column tipped Gove as a future prime minister.

Santorum, misty-eyed wobbly-lipped defender of the Constitution of the United States of God Bless America, who says “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute” and that such a separation was “not the founders’ vision”. OK, let’s hear from Thomas Jefferson, actual founding father and actual principal author of the actual Declaration of Independence. On New Year’s Day 1802, when he was actual US President, he wrote: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

Immorality.

Like giving your corporate chums free labour and calling it voluntary work experience while threatening to withhold benefits from the slaves if they don’t comply. That’s immorality.

Like insisting that your right to marry is determined not by your character or your devotion or your behaviour, but by your chromosomes. That’s immorality.

There surely comes a time at which the immorality of those in and around power — which includes politicians, the journalists that cravenly support them, and the corrupt police — finally turns upon itself. This immoral triangle of power, rusting and crumbling. That day might be closer than we think.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some dungarees and possibly a small cave in the Lake District.

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Tumbleweeds and plugs

I apologise, dearest reader, for the tumbleweeds bouncing through this blog in recent weeks. I have been neglecting you in favour of another: pouring my frothing muse into longer works of fiction. I’m pleased to say the first of these has now set and been whittled into editorial shape via the passage of time, a drawer, and some helpful feedback.

I’m not writing as David Smith since that returns more hits on Google than there are atoms in the universe. To be read you first have to be found, and my real name is — unless you are very determined — a near-synonym for anonymous. Not Anonymous, just anonymous.

Nor am I writing as Avaragado, as people can’t say it (av-uh-ruh-GAH-doe) or spell it (tip: it’s all a’s apart from the o) and I’d need to make up a first name or last name to jigsaw onto it or else spend precious nerd energy fighting Facebook and Google+ naming policies.

After much deliberation I settled on Anthony Camber. “Anthony” is my middle name and my Dad’s name; and “Camber” is, as many of you know, a place on the south coast that holds fond memories for me, and which I’ve been visiting on and off all my life. And, excitingly, I could get anthonycamber.com and @anthonycamber, and there’s nobody else with that name on Amazon, and there doesn’t appear to be an under-23 Welsh rugby player with that name, and so on.

The first story I’m publishing is a novella, running at just under 25,000 words. If you haven’t already zipped over to anthonycamber.com it’s called Till Undeath Do Us Part, and it’s about zombies in Cambridge (with a side-order of gay). As much as I’d like to claim the label it’s not exactly a HomZomRomCom, but there are elements of all four oms. It is apparently “A right rollicking read” and “Highly recommended” (Mr C Walsh, Cheque-in-the-Post, Cottenham).

It’s available now on Kindle. You can, and indeed you must, start reading in under a minute. iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch owners will have to wait up to a couple of weeks for it to emerge glittering from Apple’s mysterious approval process into the iBookstore, or use the Kindle reader app/site instead.

I already have a first draft of a second story: longer, at 64,000 words. It’ll be available in a month or two I expect, once I have battered it into shape.

I make no pretence of literary greatness. I’m writing because I enjoy writing. If people like it and pay me for it, even better. I will, of course, do almost anything in exchange for gushing, five-star reviews and shameless pimping.

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