I had many versions of a change of year post. 2016 was the year that Canterbury Cathedral had armed guards posted outside and Britain’s Snoopers’ Charter was finally snuck through. It was the beginnings of extreme disorder acts, curtailing non mainstream opinions. It was also the year that the Snowden movie came out.
Wherever I’ve given my attention, whatever era or story I’ve gotten into, I’ve found a pattern: control by the establishment. I heard a discussion recently which asked – even if the controllers change, the pattern seems eternal. Can we ever expect different?
The answer is yes of course, and that we should. Rather than a turning wheel that simply crushes all underneath it, it’s a spiral. You’ll know that I like spirals. In the sequel, I explain why I chose to call my first pair of novels Parallel Spirals and how it comes from my view of history – our own and the world’s.
Each one of those eras I read about moved on. The floodgates burst, despite the efforts to hold in the water of change. Yes, there was a new dam built, and another, but they burst too. And there is a difference in the water system – there is progress.
We may feel that the current dam is an especially scary one and seems reminiscent of dams that we hoped we’d burst forever.
But perhaps this is an especially significant twist of the spiral, because there is a new kind of water beyond this dam.
All these stories reminded that often it begins with a few. It begins with a few being different and brave, and it begins with a few not being brave or thinking and just following.
Snowden reminds us that those in the 1940s doing so were tried as war criminals – not just those senior officials, but those doing ordinary jobs. Those who just did their duty, out of fear or conformity, but who did it nonetheless.
It was a clear call to those now – from reporting under Prevent, to all the other forms of bullying and right up the scale. What is your part in this regime?
I am told that numerologically, 2017 is a year of new beginnings and thus clearing of what no longer is healthy. So I am encouraged, rather than discouraged that history has always cleared away and that our spiral does progress. Let it be a twist to be proud of.
There has even been one since I wrote this.