‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

Yesterday, Theresa May announced that in 50 days, the U.K. will hold a general election.

There will be a vote this June, she said, about a vote last June, and a chance for the electorate to have their say on what they’ve already said. So she said.

Except it is not. This vote is no more a vote on the previous vote, as that vote was on our membership of the European Union.

The Conservatives have, so their snake charmers tell them, much to gain and little to lose. This vote is about cold hard political power, not a mandate for Brexit. It’s about building a bigger majority in the House of Commons as means of accelerating their increasingly oppressive agenda.

This is what Baudrillard might have deemed ‘hyperreal’- where we can no longer distinguish between reality and a simulation of reality. Indeed, reality is long gone*, we have put ‘the map before the territory’, as has been the case since last June.


Former London Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro

* An example of ‘putting the map before the territory’ (Brexit campaign bus 2016)

The claim that this vote’s reality is about Brexit is a ruse, an ‘allegory of the Empire’, and this narrative will proceed, complete with supporting semiotic cast, as the Conservatives continue to unpick the welfare state.

Today we know, that the government know, that we know that – all is not what it seems, and their lies are built upon old lies and even older myths.

However, in this liminal electoral space, their lie is only but one truth, be it a well reinforced, in a soup of truths. Another version of a truth is, that in this space, they are just as fragile as we are.

These are indeed unruly times, what matters now, is that we are too.







Curtis, A (2016) Hypernormalisation, BBC Iplayer [available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b183c ] & a link to his blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/02d9ed3c-d71b-4232-ae17-67da423b5df5 

Poster, M, (2001)(eds) in Jean Baudrillard: Selected writings, Chapter 7, Simulacra and Simulations, Polity, London

Orwell, G (1948) 1984, Polity, London




[generation gallop]

We survived the war, victory was dug,

no longer are we threatened by that facist thug,

don’t miss the sound of the claxon, more rations than before,

a NHS to share, wirelesses everywhere, new products to adore,

tad American for us but the children are fully enrolled,

like water off a duck’s back to those lot, brave new world, we’re told,

got a young new queen the other day, lovely bit of the old,

her coronation was on a friend’s television, first one in the street.


A man on the moon. All our TVs in tune, sat around we were, eyes glued,

like when they huddled around their wireless, back when they rationed food,

we’ve got pirates on our radios, women on their feet,

pop music is in our heels, our new consumption beat,

the future is looking bleak, mushroom clouds invade our dreams, we’re rolling like

a stone, lava lamps of martian green, we scheme on the telephone,

as they sit around their wireless, waiting for their past to regrow.


Labour saving galore, microwaves divine,

changing us and our food, how we spend our time,

my sex life is more my own, not the church’s misogynistic crime,

things are getting quicker, equal pay for equal time!

the sixties lot don’t get it, we aren’t asking for permission,

we’re marching in our flares, TV’s techni-coloured transition.


Space is being invaded as Atari aliens probe our rooms,

a walkman in both ears, public space is now cocooned,

a new Madonna in the charts, the world is out of tune. We becoming I.

Iron lady marching on, all not what it seems, robots encroach and outsource our

automated dreams, I becoming Cyborgs, the singularity now in view.


Throw away cameras: develop, dispose, consume,

Cyborgs’ hearts in LED, boundaries impossible to assume,

fax is for the luddites, binary gender doomed,

pagers on the hip, mobile phones fused to ears, the internet begins to engender

new utopian ideas, as Cyborgs we see the world(s) as information flow.


DVDs are a library, Ipod is on our phone, Cyborgs live many identities –

some of them not our own, there’s more power in our pockets than the rocket sent

to space. We don’t understand you and your fear of losing face.


Why would we write a poem, for you lot on your lily pads? We live omnipresently,

we’re not disengaging benevolently. Headphones in one ear, Whatsapp, Snapchat

on the go, not cocooned as long ago, just our communication flow.


Good luck with your businesses, and worrying about the art of the deal. It’s not us

but you, who must learn that we’ll no longer kneel.

Brexit: A liminal moment and angry masks

Is it necessary that the ‘truth’ that is spoken to power be full of facts? If these ‘facts’ are believed to be true by the listener? It’s just that the Brexit campaigns weren’t too concerned with ‘facts’ that could be substantiated.

One ‘fact’, that was contentiously claimed during the Brexit campaign was that a lot of people didn’t feel they’ve shared the fruits of globalization, at least not as much as those residing in London, who it was claimed are all: rich, liberal finance types. However, the argument was not framed as a critique of the neo-liberal model of global capitalism. It was framed as the result of ‘uncontrolled’ ‘unfettered’ ‘mass’ immigration.

The dominant public mask worn by the elite for the last 20+ years, that endorsed the Chicago school of trickle-down economics, all of us in it together etc, became usurped by a much older one. One of imagined communities, nationalism and identity.

The dominant narrative (Growth benefits all) encountered its greatest fear. Ridicule. The dominant mask had slipped.

Once strong communities, now bereft of cohesive industry, the likes of which collective identity can be built around had a chance to express their rampage. Via the ballot box of all places.  Private transcripts of loss and anger had a space to express this rage that wasn’t an election.



Boundaries were tested, as ever more contentious signage was printed. Did this watershed moment in political rhetoric represent a collective liminal moment? A leave of the expected boundaries and an opportunity to rally against the ‘politically correct’ liberal elite. 

Did this vulgarity have consequences? Had this change in rhetoric, of what ‘could be said’ help move the process beyond the realm of the rational?

What resulted could be read as an opportunity for the private transcripts: of a world working for the few, against the many; of democratic deficits; of change that didn’t explain let alone ask, and a loss of narratives not yet forgotten. Of very real and substantive anger. The result in this new fog of chance, two fingers firmly waved at the few. Regardless of the consequences for the many.

Following the 23rd June, this society entered a new realm of collective experience, yet unlike Alves’ Portuguese boys this rampage isn’t through gardens and it threatens to break more than a few flower pots.