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The Price of Love

10 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Le Baiser de Rodin yn Llanidloes, mun

Ben Wildsmith

They’ve finally reached the inevitable destination of their vile, ill-thought-out, thuddingly dull, cruel, and sparse philosophy.

40 years since the damaged woman projected her embarrassingly obvious daddy issues on to Britain, with the small-minded price-stickering of every facet of a human life, the Tories have arrived at a cost for love.

Somewhere in the world there is a new couple who have found in each other a way to navigate their way through the terrifying, time-limited existence that we all share. Like you, they want to have children, to make a living representation of their adoration for each other.

Well, unless they are earning £37k a year, they won’t be doing that in Cwmbran, or Machynlleth, or Hay, or St David’s, or Ynyshir, or Grangetown, or anywhere that civilised people live on this storied island. Even Newport.

In their desperation to harvest voters whose bitterness is the wages of stupidity, the people we allow to govern us are plumbing depths of depravity that shame us all.

How, in the name of all that is holy, are we permitting these horrors of human beings to desecrate the essence of why we are on the earth at all?

We’re heading into Christmas and its toxic, irreligious commercialism will, for some of us, speak of a scarcely endurable void in the heart of our culture. Two-for-one blessings around iPhones and threadbare office Christmas trees where love for your fellow human ought to be.

Lowest ebb

Llanidloes isn’t signposted off the A470 and nobody who lives there will thank me for pointing out that it exists at all. To assimilate into the place, you need to find it by accident, ideally at your lowest ebb.

It’s essentially a refugee camp: somewhere that folks that don’t fit in can coexist companionably. I ran out of petrol once on Great Oak Street and the landlord of The Stag gave me a fiver out of the till to get home.

‘You’ll sort me out when you can…’

I was back there this weekend for my birthday because it’s a reliably good time.

There’s warmth, and acceptance, and mercy, and forgiveness of foibles. It’s nestled on the Cambrians where mist rises around you and bends the light into a hazy mysticism that suits a hangover.

Welsh speakers and English incomers discuss their differences and smile at the nonsense that divides us.

My phone was bleeping, ‘Are you watching Shane MacGowan’s funeral?’ everybody wanted to know. I wasn’t, because I was living my life with the woman I love and amongst friends who love me.

It was whispering across the Irish Sea, though, as that proud nation sang, danced, and wept its singularity to the world.

England can’t govern me anymore, and I’ll bet you a fiver you’re beginning to feel the same.

Flags & Bones by Ben Wildsmith is available to order from Cambria Books

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