Hot news from the Argus, our much overlooked local paper (read avidly by three people, two taxi drivers and a dog in Hayward’s Heath) is that trade is up in North Laines, due to the good weather. A month or few back… we (the three readers and then a stuffed parrot) were told that trade was down, which was all the fault of the Green Council, because the parking was so expensive, not to mention the horror that was the dustbin strike, also the fault of the Greens (with no mention of the previous two councils, Tory and Labour, that did sweet fiddlefaddle about the dustbin peoples’ pay agreement, year on year).
There is nothing like a good Aunt Sally when it comes to bashing things… and the glorious blame game. The idea is that you close your eyes, think of something to smash and go on bashing it until you draw blood – man, woman or child. The Argus hasn’t just used the Green lead council as an aunt Sally, it has openly courted advertising from local businesses offering them advertising space to complain about parking and the 20 mph speed limit (Unchain the Motorist) so that it not only offers editorial that deals in blame, it gets finance from organisations who are gathered for the purpose of blame. Well let’s face it, a newspaper with that level of popularity needs all the support it can get, and what better than promoting bigotry for both advertising and editorial – a real double act.
‘Unchain the Motorist’ is a quite particular cluster, consisting of taxi firms and self-serving businesses that look like they are none too concerned about human life, limb or values. The day when a family cat or child gets knocked over because somebody is driving at speed in Brighton, one of their number will feel justifiably sad, and that would be a real tragedy. I would be frightened to belong to an organisation that is hell bent on the promotion of cars, opposing speed limits and advancing all the risks to health that come from motor vehicles, including lung disease, being impaled on bull bars, or simply squashed. Fate has a horrible way of teaching us nasty lessons, which is why I fear for the wellbeing of those that openly smirk as they stick their head in a lion’s mouth.
The legal business likes blame, and gets all thrilled and excited when people trip over paving stones, suffer whiplash and have their phones hacked. Blame makes mega bucks and is the source of endless news stories. Apparently the BBC is to blame for Jimmy Savile’s sexual excesses. When a baby is neglected and mistreated and dies, the local social services are to blame. We do this blame game stuff because the American legal profession has made megabucks out of it… and they invariably pave the way. Taken to the furthest level, blame is the cause of world wars, acts of racial crime covering several thousand years, and stress on an unimaginable scale. It’s not a new thing either. In the past we put people in the stocks and the ducking stool and half drowned them if we blamed them for talking too much, or driving across a red light in a donkey cart.
I often meditate on the Eastern philosophy of ‘no blame’. This assumes that there is nothing we can blame anybody for. Massive movements of social unrest, military initiatives of horror are like waves of human activity that must be ridden out, and tolerance and forgiveness should prevail, like the innate wisdom of nature itself… not always easy, it must be said. We simply have to accept, accept and accept again. Perhaps human behaviour at the deepest level reveals that there is ‘nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ I shall now sit back and enjoy the journalistic antics of the Argus, hoping beyond hope that it sticks to what it does best – those lovely stories about the swan on the motorway, the chocolate biscuit in the shape of piano and the vicar’s knitted hat.