I don't get out much (except for walks with the dogs) and it is even rarer for me to try something new. I have to really psych myself up to go somewhere I have not been to before or meet people I do not know. This is not because I do not want to go out and do new things and meet new people. I do, very much so. It is because I am a nutjob.
I have been working myself up to going to a meeting of Christians on the Left this evening at the Miners' Hall in Durham. I have never been to a political meeting but I thought I would give it a go as I had assumed it would be a good place to meet people with similar political views to my own which, in turn, would lead to conversation (something I rarely get the chance to engage in offline). Sadly I have just been informed that it has been cancelled "out of respect" for the victims of the Manchester bombing earlier this week. They are going to have a one hour prayer meeting instead and I know from experience that prayer always puts the damper on a good chinwag. So I will be sat in front of the gogglebox again tonight.
I am aware that most people understand the excitement that follows many tragedies that takes place in the public eye. I do not. I expect I feel the same levels of sadness, outrage and revulsion that most people who are not psychopathic feel when they watch, read or listen to reportage from the scene of an atrocity but I just don't get why people have the overwhelming urge to do something overt to show their sympathy. If you have no direct connection to one or more of the victims why travel maybe hundreds of miles to leave a stuffed toy on a pavement adjacent to ground zero? To be honest, the cynic within me immediately assumes that it has a lot more to do with the need of the pilgrim to boast of doing the right thing than it has to do with making things better for the families and friends of the victims.
I cannot see any reason whatsoever why the Christians on the Left should not go ahead with their meeting as planned tonight. The Stock Exchange has not replaced trading with a service of praise and healing. The BBC have not replaced their programmes with sombre, funereal music. The local petrol station is still open and willingly selling petrol. What is different about a meeting of people intent on doing something to replace our rampant, neoliberal government with something that is much kinder? Heck, there will always be the trading of stocks and shares, the showing of repeats and the pumping of gas, but there is only one general election this year (at least, hopefully there will only be the one).
So I am annoyed that the meeting has been cancelled. Annoyed because I have expended a lot of energy getting into the going out zone and annoyed because that cunt who killed those children has achieved exactly what he wanted to achieve. The bastards read us so well. They know we will do most of their contemptible work for them. All they have to do is push the right buttons.