My velocipede crunched through frozen puddles and leaves as I set off for work this morning and my knees grew cold as I cycled, but it was a beautiful ride, the sun shining and the fair weather cyclists all off the road. As I rode I thought of many things, but mostly of a meeting I attended last night, where an alderman of the town turned up to a meeting of those affected by his housing policies. In response to the distress of one elderly woman whose home he had voted to destroy, he attempted to assert his right to respond. As though we should give him an equal platform, as though he didn’t have other spaces in which he could talk – spaces in which his words could be backed up with violence.
Like many smartly-dressed centrists, he was puzzled by the notion that he should not be treated as an equal in the meeting. He was surprised to have someone talk about his power and point out that it made him different. A failure to analyse power is a hallmark of the smartly-dressed centrist. It is also endemic to society. Who causes climate change? Do we even know? A failure to engage with the power dynamics behind rising temperatures means we largely look to the wrong places for solutions. An art exhibition I visited last week flailed desperately towards an analysis, but with no coherence, no framework that could be called upon beyond cryptic references to class.
Yesterday I got some good news: Dr Guerrilla will be moving into my house. She is a relatively new friend but we get on well. I feel sure that living with her will be enjoyable. Since she also replaces someone who engaged very little with the house, it feels like an increase in the overall warmth of the home, and that’s a good thing to have as the cold outside starts to bite.