Author: Gareth Kearns

Opinion

Flag fetishism by gaslight

Gareth Kearns

Cast your mind back ten years or more. I can remember all the way back to the 1970s. For most of that period, to see a house in the UK flying a flag from a pole was rare. It was also deemed by most people to be odd. Now, I just don’t mean the Union […]

Opinion

Full of sound and fury, signifying something….

Gareth Kearns

There is an old philosophical thought experiment that you will have heard of. It goes like this – “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This old chestnut persists because it so beautifully demonstrates how language and meaning can impact upon how […]

Opinion

Histrionics and persistence: Brexit is looking bad

Gareth Kearns

They’re desperate. They’ve been found out. They’re currently riding the unwillingness of their readers, and Brexiters generally, to accept that Brexit is now revealed to be a lie because so many of those very readers are complicit in facilitating that lie, and the consequences for the country are so grave. It’s a particularly potent brew of complicity because it was notions of patriotism and loyalty –in themselves perfectly fine sentiments – that were harnessed and weaponised to spur normal people into this betrayal of country and kin.

Opinion

Patriotism or Nationalism?

Gareth Kearns

Today, people are quoting Johnson. No, not *him*, not the buffoon. I mean Dr Samuel Johnson. A particular quote. This one: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. And I see what that Johnson was getting at, but most of the people quoting him do not. As Johnson would have been the first to tell you, language evolves. Meanings become nuanced. Indeed, sometimes a new term, a new word, a new reference is required.

Opinion

Lions laughing at donkeys

Gareth Kearns

This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.

Opinion

Forelock tugging in the 21st century?

Gareth Kearns

Watch out for the little things. Watch out for what people tell you when they don’t believe they’re saying anything in particular. Parliament came back on 1 September 2020 and I joined a group of protestors outside. This was part of the ongoing Stand of Defiance European Movement (SODEM) protests. On this day we joined […]