Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Protest, Progress and Da Vinci

Yeah, I had to mention protest. Seems only fitting given today saw the "biggest" protest of public service workers in some time. I put that in inverted commas as I was disappointed that more didn't turn out. I had imagined miles and miles of angry teachers, nurses, firefighters, lecturers, doctors, and dinner ladies descending on parliament and demanding Cameron and Gosbourne's heads. Sadly this didn't come to be (estimates I've seen say around 25,000 were out in the London march, which is tiny compared to the anti-war protests in Blair's day), but good on those that did go out and march (rather than go shopping instead).

It will be a surprise to no one that I support the strike Britain saw today, though I don't believe it will do any good in the long run; the public sector are going to get shafted the way the private one did over a decade ago. It isn't right, but I don't see how it can be avoided. And, being British, we will whinge and complain about it but nothing will actually be done. On the upside we will eventually get over the anger and it will be just another grievance added to the thousands we already have simmering away. But it was right, in my view, for them to go out and express their discontent - if for no other reason than to stop the Con-dems being able to pretend that everyone is okay with their proposals. That, and I'm a sucker for the underdog.

In other, more writing related news, the novel is coming along nicely - the revisions make a hell of a lot more sense than the initial draft, and I'm generally getting through three to five scenes a week. I've started counting my progress in scenes, rather than words, and have discovered I do more work that way, when I sit down to tippity-tap for the evening. Mind games are apparently the key to writing success.

I also was incredibly lucky this week to go to the Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan exhibition, at the National Gallery. I only got this opportunity thanks to a friend who had an invite to a "networking" event; there was a lot more looking at paintings, chatting with acquaintances and drinking of champagne than actual networking going on. I kept my feet on the ground by being one of the few with jeans on. Take that you bourgeois fools (she says as she drinks said champagne and chats to thoroughly nice posh people. Hey, I am a good old fashioned socialist after all).

It was wonderful to see the work of such a magnificent artist, and to have so many of his paintings in one place was marvellous (though it shouldn't be so hard to do as he didn't exactly do that many paintings). We walked past impressive works that he never finished, sketches of pieces he never started, and I thought, "that's what I want to avoid - starting and not finishing, because something shiny came along and distracted me." So my zeal for the book has been renewed and I plan to carry on at a steady but do-able rate.

Who knew a renaissance artist, dead for nearly 500 years, could do that. Thanks Da Vinci.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. This strike was very unpopular with most everyone I've spoken to - "hey, what right do they have, when my pension is practically worthless, and I've not had a pay-rise for 5 years?", "it's only going to cost me more money, having to look after the kids", "if they want to strike then do it about something more important" - are typical arguments I've heard. But the point of striking is that it's about the working man's only means of demonstrably indicating dissatisfaction with something. Post-Thatcher, unions are either toothless or disinterested (sic) with their members. Withdrawing your labour is possibly the only way to have a voice.

    And it's not that public sector workers are complaining when they shouldn't, because they are better off than 'us'; it's that *all* of us ought to be acting more radically given the appalling manner in which governments (and I'll cast an eye at the previous incumbents here as well) see fit to treat their people these days. We should have been striking before now to call them to task, rather than lackadaisically sniping at the minor inconvenience caused by those with more gumption.

    Now, back to your (free) champagne guzzling ...