I’ve been thinking a lot about political fiction recently. I have read 1984 and Brave New World too many times to effectively count, but recently I’ve been feeling like they, perhaps, aren’t as relevant as I considered them to be, even so recent as a year ago. I feel, particularly with the rise of Ukip and the Greens and the ideas Russell Brand has been shouting about on every television channel, that politics is no longer a war between conservatism and liberalism, between the proletariat and the bourgeois, but between the apathetic and the fervent.
A year ago, if asked, I might have said that I was a firm supporter of Labour – to my mind, it wasn’t so much a matter of supporting Labour but, instead, a matter of opposing every other party. Even then, as I’ve seen people flock from Labour to Ukip or other parties, I’ve rapidly become somewhat disenfranchised with a political system that doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m not saying don’t vote, of course not, I will no doubt end up voting – but I don’t actually support any party anymore.
I don’t think I’m apolitical, obviously, but I lean more towards the individual, the anarchic. I would love the idea that humanity was so great that it doesn’t need guiding, that each Homo Sapient was trustworthy enough to live a fair and honest life. Of course, the practical, animalistic side of me rages against such anarchy – it claims that we would be nothing more than beasts (which, in the end, is all we are) and the knowledge that I, personally, would be dead in a matter of days goes some way towards denying me the ability to fully plant my flag in the ground, emblazoned with a red A.
I think I am, currently, where I belong – on the fence and unlikely to be swayed to either side by anything but my own whims. Perhaps this is some heightened narcissism, that enables me to simply throw a vote away in this manner, perhaps the idea that it doesn’t matter who I vote for is a half-arsed indictment of English society, perhaps the idea that my vote could not even contribute to change, that it is worthless, is an ultimate self-revulsion – or perhaps I’m just too lazy, too apathetic, and I take that to its extreme, even as it might, eventually, damage me.
Perhaps the internet is partly to blame – this increased sense of individuality that one needs to harbour in order to feel alive, amongst the dead-eyed crowds and the millions of world consumers, has ruined any sense of compromise. Perhaps, with personalised adverts and products, I refuse to vote for anything which does not match my personal politics, my personal limits of morality, entirely.
But, anyway, I can’t help but feel that there is a lack of contemporary political fiction – that was my original point, I knew I’d get back to it eventually – to really match the current political climate. I always thought, at time of great strife, that art experienced some kind of rebirth as a reaction? I don’t know, maybe incredible political fiction is being created but publishers are denying it and writers who would call themselves literary are refusing to self-publish? Or maybe all the entertainment of modern life has mellowed us out; maybe no one is really angry anymore – it’s just a phoned in rage?
I don’t know – I’ll have to sit down and work out some genuine opinions on the matter, something to offer some definitive message, rather than the apathetic answer I am currently considering – maybe that is it, maybe apathy is the new rage. After all, why would I be standing in a street with a placard and a raised fist, when I could binge watch the IT Crowd on Netflix, purvey the latest Civilisation playlist from the Yogscast, or read 1984 again, and consider how much worse things could be?
Just a reminder, (yeah, expect to see a lot of these little things at the end of posts for a few weeks) The Caitiff will be released, on Amazon, on Friday the 13th of February, by the way, if you want to check it out.