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Opinion

The emptiness within

29 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Liz Saville Roberts and Rishi Sunak (inset)

Ben Wildsmith

I spend the majority of my working life working with addicts and, for full disclosure, have been one myself.

Addiction remains a misunderstood facet of life. Media distortion of the issue means that general perception of it is wildly at odds with the reality known to addicts, those who love them, and professionals in the field.

In particular, the media often frames addiction as the cause of a person’s ills when, in 100% of cases I have known, it is a pernicious symptom of them.

For people in the orbit of addiction, the most frustrating aspect of it is dishonesty. The substance is never to blame, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, an addict will twist and turn in contradiction so that continued use is not threatened.

Immorality

If you are around this sort of behaviour a lot, it ceases to look like immorality. The ethical choices we all make from moment to moment are overridden by the warping, insistent need that an addict experiences. You learn when to make allowances and when to draw a line.

The patterns of addictive behaviour are depressingly predictable. They permeate the systems of a person’s life like a weed, relentlessly strangling each one.

Every day, the addiction advances and the person retreats before it, continuing to deny the obvious. In the short-term, immediate risks can be managed but long-term prospects are a zero-sum trade-off between stopping and premature death.

When I read about Liz Saville Roberts’ plea that Rishi Sunak sign Full Fact’s pledge to campaign honestly, I could well imagine the despair she feels. During the abortive SNP debate on Gaza the other week, her principled distress at what she was witnessing shone through on a day that shamed the UK.

Magical thinking

In asking for honesty from the Tory Party, however, she’s underestimating the mess it is in. This, potentially final, version of it is gripped by an addiction to magical thinking that means dishonesty is an essential component of its day-to-day survival.

One could mount a case that this is the final unfolding of the Thatcherite delusion, but that’s for another time.

This 2019-2024 term of Torydom had unique impossibilities baked into it from the off.

It is no longer controversial to accept that Brexit was, at best, a reckless pipe dream, and at worst a deliberate confidence trick. The relentless flow of disinformation and contradictory nonsense that has been inflicted on the UK to conceal the idiocy of attempting to revive island state sensibilities in a world that works globally has distorted politics.

Jingoistic

Those who wanted it to work have indulged jingoistic, wishful thinking without scrutiny, and that has offered lightweight politicians the temptation they can’t resist: impunity.

So, direct from arguing this visibly impoverished island is basking in sunlit opportunity, elements in the Tory Party went on to downplay Covid, minimise climate change, and pretend that the pensions of an ageing society can be paid without immigrant labour.

They have invoked phantom ‘woke’ threats to distract from their deficiencies, and agitated at every societal faultline to displace anger.

This government was founded on a lie, has survived by lies, and is now drowning in them.

Rishi Sunak might as well sign Ms Saville Roberts’ pledge, nobody would believe him anyway.

Behind the bluster, evasion, theft, and brass-necked audacity of this regime lies the uncomfortable truth that every addict must face: the emptiness within.


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adrian savill
adrian savill
1 month ago

Da Iawn

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

They’ll never admit they were wrong and that they’ve seriously hurt the country with lies and deception. One day there will be a Brexit inquiry and it will be damning of the likes of Farage, Johnson, Rees-Mogg and their ilk.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

At least MD can see a benefit, every Brexit has a silver lining for somebody…

I knew I should have gone into the curse-tablet business several years ago…

More use than a government run inquiry and a heck of a lot cheaper…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Should have put up an irony warning or is it the old ways you don’t like…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

That’s Gove put in his roof top crack-house and the large number of Downing Street alcoholics around Fat Shanks. The Home Office’s addiction to cruelty. The Met’s dependence on the scum of the country seeing the opportunities on offer and Sunak’s heavy dependency on helicopters, male bovine vocal sewage and Modi type crowd control…When will the water-canon and tear gas be deployed to wean the population off the idea of taking to the streets this summer…The emptiness that once was the UK…

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

Another very good piece from Ben!

The truly sad thing is that nothing will change. There will be no attempts to improve the circumstances we as people, or country, are in because the status quo suits those who are at the “top of the pile.”

When someone comes along that could change things for the better there is a concerted effort to convince us they are the bogey-man so we are fooled into choosing the habitual liar instead.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

And sadly the bogey-man has been replaced with someone who will in all likelyhood just regurgitate similar rhetoric to the current Tories, and stick with the Thatcherite economics that have ruined everything that was good. But, we need also to realise that our very own Welsh Labour Government has ever since it formed the first devolved government, operated economic polices just as Thatcherite and damaging as Westminster, hollowing out our public sector, our economy, our education system and our healthcare. Any decent, ethical and moral Labour movement in Wales that cared about the people and was genuinely committed to socialism… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Now that is what you call a floral print Liz…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It’s ok I was in the rag trade…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Rishy Sunak wouldn’t know honesty if it tapped him on the shoulder and introduced itself. At the start of his premiership stated he’d effectively be whiter than white only then to soil society with Conservative corruption and hypocrisy. Less we forget his registering his pre-election “Ready for Rishy” campaign in California over six months before Boris Johnson was ousted as prime minister. The damage done to the most vulnerable in society by his pernicious policies of the far-right has caused so much deprivation leading to a rise in poverty, drug addiction, suicide, add Brexit and incursions into Welsh devolution, where… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The man is in reality an “untouchable”…

Those people he declared himself ‘proud’ to abhor in his opening address to Parliament aren’t…

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