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The nightmare scenarios.


LAST NIGHT I dreamed of Donald Trump again. I dreamt he’d just bought Norway instead of Greenland. More than recompense I would guess for the Danish rebuff to his offer for their overseas territory (population a paltry 56,000), which offended him bigly — calling his offer “absurd” being a “very not nice” thing to say. I don’t know how the Norwegians felt about this because my dream fizzled into oblivion almost immediately. As indeed did the whole houha about the offer. So brief was this little mediatique spasm that if the BBC hadn’t mentioned it I’d be inclined to think it was just another dream.

My knowledge of Greenland is as sparse as its population. I know where it is and that it’s a big bit of real estate that is almost uninhabitable. I’ve seen the documentaries about the Vikings and how even they had problems settling there, so I realise what a stupid place it is to want to live. I also stake my claim to having published the only piece of Greenland literature anybody in Britain would have encountered in the late twentieth century, when I included a translation of a short story, “Snow in Sunshine”, by Ole Korneliussen, in ‘Carnage’, an edition of my magazine, Sunk Island Review (1992). It’s a grim tale about a man who intends to commit suicide.

That’s another thing: Greenland seems to be a grim place, rife with alcoholism, suicide and guns (just like the story). Not surprising given its location and weather. Probably the best thing that could have happened to it would have been to be turned into an outpost of uber-capitalist America, with the hope of better conditions and the chance of getting out. I assume they have no home-grown television drama worth the description but if they did I imagine it would be the darkest of all Scandi-noir possible.

And talking of Scandi-noir, we’re all enjoying a short break from the climate emergency apocalypse promised by Ms Greta Thunberg while she saves the planet by braving the Atlantic waves on a yacht on her way to some conference of environmental types in New York. Since her means of communicating are restricted we don’t get to hear much about her jaunt. The more cynical among us take childish delight in the fact that since there is no latrine on board she and the crew have to use a bucket. Eco-friendly, I suppose, since all they have to do afterwards is recycle their waste into the ocean.

Back on dry land, however, the other forms of nonsense continue. In keeping with Saint Thunberg’s doctrines about saving the environment Goldsmiths University (“that lefty finishing school for lefty artists and fashionistas” as James Delingpole describes it) has banned beef products from all its canteens. It also wants to phase out single-use plastics, increase the cost of bottled water (in truth a good idea – why can’t people drink tap water, for heaven’s sake?) and become carbon-neutral by 2050. That’s if it is still around in 2050, of course. By then with a bit of luck the university scam nationwide will have blown up, and as a result of that and its righteous disinvestment policies Goldsmiths will have vanished. In which case it will be existentially as well as carbonly neutral.

The self-destruction of academia continues at Glasgow University, which has declared it will make amends for its debt to the Atlantic slave trade to the tune of £20 million:

It is believed to be the first institution in the UK to pledge money to atone for its links to the transatlantic slave trade.

The ‘programme of restorative justice’ will be managed in partnership with the University of the West Indies and the target money will be spent over the next 20 years on establishing the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.

That’s the slave trade which took place and was abolished hundreds of years before any of the righteous profs were born, so they’re not personally in the firing line for responsibility. Still, there must be some autoerotic moral pleasure to be gained from this form of self-abasement. Each to their own.

And female academics of previously impeccable feminist purity have found themselves targets of student vitriol for not being pure enough. Profs Selina Todd (Oxford), Kate Newey (Exeter), Rosa Freedman (Reading) and Kathleen Stock (Sussex) have been been hounded by purple-haired, campus trans activists for alleged transphobia, ie, not accepting the fresh dogmas as revealed, eternal truths. Those eternal truths include the belief that if you wish to “identify” as male when female or vice versa then the rest of the world is obliged to accept it as a fact, and any questioning of that or of the demand everyone use your preferred pronouns is an act of violence.

It’s a mystery how these students can talk about pronouns, given that most of them can’t tell a pronoun from a preposition.Transphobia has as much reality as Islamophobia, that is, none, but this kind of insanity is now par for the course in academia and exactly what I have been predicting for a while. I bet you these types are all vegans keen on saving the planet. In which case we can hope they follow the current green trend and refuse to breed. They’ll soon find themselves alone, unwanted, unfashionable and ignored. Too bad for them but the rest of us can look forward to getting some peace at last.

suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet and writer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire. A Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lincoln University (2005 – 2008), his poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent book is Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press). Sucks to Your Revolution is a collection of his Fortnightly columns.

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