9th March 2017

The Public Tree Service sent me on a training day to Wood Abbey on the edge of Londres, where a government official made it clear that they have no intention of preventing multiple waves of plant diseases from sweeping across the country. Much more could be done, but it would involve more border checks. Free trade is sacred, and only humans must be detained at the border.

But it was difficult to feel gloomy because the sun, in a surprise move, came out and stayed out most of the day. I sat outside at lunchtime sipping on tea and surveying the ruined abbey, once a great landholder in the area. No doubt Henry the Wifekiller stole the land for his friends, and if anything made things worse for those who lived off it. Rentiership, I often think, is the true basis of capitalism, not entrepreneurship or any of that bullshit its propagandists claim. It is a system built by and for rentiers.

Even our culture, I suspect, is a rentier culture. If you pay for your culture and do not participate in the creation of it, you are renting it. You aren’t even buying. It’s not your culture, it’s theirs. The rentiers create it, and it is for their benefit, not ours. This could sound on the surface like miserable hair-shirtism. I am not saying we should not pay for things that we enjoy, only that we should understand what is and is not our culture. Television is their culture, the culture of rentierism. So are newspapers and films, and even social media sites are mixed. Our culture is the culture we make and participate in ourselves.

9th March 2017