Year of the B*stard: Life During Wartime

By Scott McNee

I notice we’re at war again, which is good news for those of you who thought we didn’t obliterate enough Iraqi schoolchildren last time. I’ve been repeatedly told by BBC News that we’re limiting our rabid mauling to mere airstrikes this time around. Somehow this is supposed to be reassuring. I hate to defend ‘boots on the ground’, but at least infantry soldiers aren’t exploding entire districts from a control room littered with porn and empty coke bottles.

War likes to pass us by up here, which is presumably why our politicians have a rabid enthusiasm for it. Why bother claiming Sid Meier’s Civilization V on expenses when you can play a real war with the public’s money? Coming this fall: Wanker Warfare III. Of course, if this was an actual game, the main missions would revolve around explaining to the press why, instead of demolishing the Islamic State, you accidentally blew up an orphanage.

How does this affect us, sitting in the McCance building? The terrifying thing is, it doesn’t. I can’t make an accurate estimate on how many people are going to die, but I can predict that very few of us will notice. There’s a brilliant sketch by David Mitchell and Robert Webb playing two SS officers having tea in a trench. “Hans,” asks Mitchell, with dawning horror, “are we the baddies?”

I’m sure this a cheerful subject for you. It’s not a strange concept for me – Catholic school took great pains to inform me that I was going to hell anyway. But I think we’re avoiding responsibility. It’s all well and good, as much of this article has, to blame our inbred political class and forget that we voted them for them in the first place. And as much as we claim, they rarely lie to us – they all but appear on television twirling their moustaches and sodomising puppies before asking us for their vote.

I have a theory on how this happened. Bear with me. In Grant Morrison’s mindbending opus The Filth, one character describes unethical experiments performed on rats. Essentially, the rats are given an abundance of everything they could want – food, water, space, and left to their own devices. Every so often, more rats are added, and the food, water and space are adjusted accordingly so that each rat always has more than enough. In theory, this could go on forever. However, eventually, with the addition of just one more rat, the peaceful utopia snaps. The rats steal from each other, eat their own young, blah blah blah.

My point is, I think the political lifestyle has long since cannibalised our country. The greater expenses, the desired schools and legacies, they all beckoned more ambitious creatures to crawl out of the woodwork. The more of them there were, the more they bought into their own status. And unsurprisingly, they began to eat us.

That’s why, instead of welfare, we got a war. The rats have never seen the scientists who provide the food. It doesn’t matter where it came from, it’s just expected.

And you voted for this.

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