There has seldom been a time when responsible, intelligent people were less interested in serious politics. The main opposition, gripped by some Freudian delusion because reality is too hard to bear, behaves as if it were still the government and so cannot oppose or even think about doing so. The discourse of the mainstream parties is duller than congealed porridge. They seek, above all, to hide their real intentions and so must shun controversy.
The chances are that if you’re nearing 30, you have begun to feel the itch of dissatisfaction. You’ve struggled to find the perfect profession, job, partner and home, but have failed in at least one respect, and are suffering from a sense of existential disgruntlement that is becoming known as the quarter-life crisis. But however bad it gets, there is one temptation you must resist: the Alpha experience.
If there is a crisis in a remote place, and governments, newspapers and aid agencies start to agitate for ‘action’, you naturally begin to suspect that much of the information you are being fed is false. When Tony Blair starts talking about intervention, your suspicion turns into virtual certainty. This is not necessarily because journalists, officials, agencies and Blair are ignorant of the facts (although ignorance is invariably a contributing factor); it’s because the tragedy and the publicity exist in different universes.
The world is, we are told day after day, week after week, going to hell in a handcart. After the most brutal, catastrophic and inhuman century in history, the new millennium has kicked off in the way it clearly intends to go on. War, famine and pestilence stalk the savannahs and forests of Africa. The Middle East is turning into a charnel house. And the planet itself is under a human onslaught the likes of which we have never seen before.