Is it time to open Joanna Southcott’s box?

Rulers, of whatever complexion of domination they claim to exemplify, are not generally a very intelligent lot. They get to the top by low cunning allied to the use of someone else’s money and, if they are sensible, once in power annihilate the someone else before he, she or it demands payment in kind.

Current rulers, either not being sensible or in thrall to Stockholm Syndrome, generally fail to do this and thus put their countries in hock to some very dubious hes, shes and, in these days increasingly, its.

However, that is not their chief concern…their armies do not go out to fight to protect their country…they are sent out, usually ill equipped, to protect and promote the interests of the hes, shes and its who put their government into power.

And the rest of the population? Can go hang as long as they vote the right way at the right time, ‘informed’ by the very media which promotes the politicians who will keep the media owners in luxury yachts and expensive women.

I was a child of the post war settlement in the U.K…..under governments, both Labour and Conservative, which recognised that good housing, good health and good education were the essentials if the nation was to thrive as a whole…governments which had a sense of nation, of society. Governments whose members had seen for themselves the results of the Depression of the thirties and the world war which followed hard on its heels.

And then came the Thatcher/Reagan years of deregulation, letting the wolves loose in the sheep pens…the years, in the U.K., of Blair and Mandelson, where wealth accumulation counted for more than societal justice…the years of Brown’s conjuring tricks which left the National Health Service paying private operators for the privilege of running the hospitals – which saw the gold reserves sold off for a song to the extent that South African gold miners were buying it in for less than their costs of production – in order to shore up the banks when the balls they had been juggling fell to the ground so spectacularly in 2008.

Banks before people. A sea change in national culture, feeding on the individualism and greed which had replaced the post war settlement as a paradigm. The individualism and greed of those who bought their council houses for a song used to justify the overweening greed of the really rich.

I had left the U.K. for France in the 1980s…and was that an eye opener! At least the U.K. had had its war…those returning determined not to suffer the inequalities of birth any more…in France the system remained unchanged…never mind the Trente Glorieuses, people knew their place and the ‘fils de papa’ would always trump the guy with good ideas but no money. An education system in which not only was there only one answer to a question…but there was only one question to answer!

Having lived there, in an area where the Front National was strong, I can see why both central government and the EU were loathed and how state power punishes ‘unorthodox’ thought and action. No wonder Macron thinks the corona virus outbreak is a perfect opportunity to crush the ‘gilets jaunes’…those who, week in and week out for over a year, have opposed his austerity measures which have ruined their lives.

Now living in Costa Rica, I see the same phenomenon….the state is bust as it will not attack the monopolies of the rich, any more than it will reform the bloated public service sector, the poisoned chalice it inherited from the governments of the 1980s, keen to gain adherents with the promise of jobs, pensions and perks. Driven to desperate measures by its full hearted response to the arrival of the corona virus it has sought a loan from the IMF.

Any study of history would show that the strings attached to a loan from the IMF will destroy the social fabric of a country…positing as it does private interest over public weal.

With that loan bang goes what is left of Costa Rica’s social coherence…the coherence which has permitted the people to accept guidance as to staying at home for all but unavoidable trips to town…

It will become like the U.K. where overweening police believe that they can corral the population nomatter what the law might say…law which has, without opposition, destroyed the civil liberties of the mass of the people in the name of controlling a virus which, as yet, seems less harmful than the outbreaks of bird ‘flu or pig ‘flu…

We feel this as, given Higher Authority’s susceptability to any sort of ‘flu, we have been isolating ourselves on and off for decades….but never under the auspices of a police state.

A friend in France has been joking that Macron has exceeded the powers of the Sun King, Louis XIV…who had only one man in an iron mask to silence….if Macron gets his way it will be a whole masked nation doomed to silence.

Is it the end of days? Is it time to open Joanna Southcott’s box?

Even were it to be so, you can count on current governments to act like King Tarquin when faced with the Sybil and her books….too expensive and we’re not buying a pig in a poke – while expecting the people of their country to do just that at their hands.

45 thoughts on “Is it time to open Joanna Southcott’s box?”

  1. Now that is an obscure cultural reference. I am truly impressed. But truly depressed upon hearing that Costa Rica has gone to the IMF for money. Couldn’t they have approached a more benign loan shark, maybe the Mafia?

    1. I expect the Mexican cartels would have been a better bet….after all, they have experience with Costa Rican politicians and all they want is a place to park the money…
      But letting those carpetbaggers of the IMF within spitting distance of your economy is asking for social disruption.

  2. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit (although now the residents of New Delhi can enjoy the view to the snow-capped Himalayas). And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth (as in Africa now): and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. (Or words to that effect)
    The end times indeed – the rapture – the IMF . . jeez!

  3. Nice to see you in a good mood.
    World leaders in a crisis, where are they?
    Boris hides, feigning sickness, Trump demands rebellion from his followers, Marcon, well he is French and only Merkel looks capable and she is also sick, yet appearing in public note that Boris.
    Personally I doubt Joanna really has much to say to us today, or indeed in the 19th century.
    Amazing how many small, but popular, cults appeared in the 1800’s. They sprung up among the middle classes and usually the followers were mostly female. Seeking a new style living faith I suspect. That went well…
    I am fearful that as the virus continues to rock the world the IMF will find itself out of cash to lend.
    However, like MacMillan before him I can see Boris offering soup kitchens for the masses, if he ever comes out of hiding!

    1. I think I remember reading thatt the box had already been opened and found to have a load of junk within…or were the contents concealed because there were not the necessary number of bishops present? And why did she want bishops, having dumped the C of E?
      There are always these cults…over here you can’t move for yoga mats, people celebrating sunrise and blasted lunatics making noises with bowls. Not Costa Ricans, it must be said, but furriners ‘helping others to find their spirituality’. At a price.
      There are some world leaders – so called – who would do well to emulate Boris and head for the nearest fridge…

      1. Someone claimed to have found the box, Wiki:-
        “In 1927, the psychic researcher Harry Price claimed that he had come into possession of the box and arranged to have it opened in the presence of one reluctant prelate, the suffragan Bishop of Grantham. It was found to contain only a few oddments and unimportant papers, among them a lottery ticket and a horse-pistol. Price’s claims to have had the true box have been disputed by historians and by followers of Southcott.”
        ‘Lottery ticket?’

        1. I suppose the horse pistol was for when one found one had not won the lottery….
          Thanks for the info…I had had only a vague memory of reading that it had been opened…but from this it seems that it might not have been the real box at all…
          I bet the suffragan bishop felt a bit of a twit.

    2. I read this when you published it but am only just commenting. As ever you sew up history and the band of brigands that get themselves elected in whatever era perfectly. As for Costa Rica …. the mafia might have been a better choice of lender. Boris Johnson is the pick of the rancid bunch. But he’ll rise sure as eggs because people seem to love him. Why they even believe that he has been ill is beyond me. Hiding out til the worst is over and then he’ll pop out another catch phrase, maybe even stencil it on the sides of buses and the people will all cheer. God save us all from ourselves. For we are surely worse than any virus this planet has ever thrown up. I hope Leo is OK, though. I know he’s horribly at risk and you are both in my thoughts.

      1. Thanks for your kind thoughts. We are just trying to be sensible…but we are used to shutting ourselves away and at least we have plenty of room and access to fresh air. Pity the poor souls in those dreadful tower blocks.
        I have a horrible feeling that the U.K. will be getting a government of national unity now that Starmer holds the reins in the Labour Party….the press has turned on the current government, the civil service is doing its best to discredit it – despite its own far from stellar performances – the ghost of Remain has arisen from its tomb rattling its chains and the discipline of Tory M.P.s is a fragile concept. I don’t like Boris…I don’t like what he stands for, but I like the prospect of a government of blind mouths even less.

        1. I know little about Starmer. When he was elected I reached out to a number of reliable friends and family none of whom seemed to know anything at all, let alone what his political stance is. He’s a QC is all I know which one would hope means he has something between the ears but what that something might be, appears to be unknown.

          I’m glad you are doing ok. We, too, are used to being somewhat reclusive so it’s fairly easy to remain aloof. But those in tower blocks or overcrowded in multi family housing units, those are the ones who are suffering. And of course in France, they aren’t hacking it at all.

          1. He has quite a history as Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service.
            Refused to go after Jimmy Saville in his lifetime despite having sufficient evidence to proceed.
            Claimed that Sweden wished to proceed against Assange – a claim Sweden denied – leading to bail being denied for Assange.
            ‘Spycops’ where he refused to intervene after it was shown that there had been perversion of the course of justice by the nature of long term infiltration of left wing groups.
            Refused to investigate agents of MI5 and 6 involved in extraordinary rendition leading to torture and death of those affected.
            Lowered the financial threshold on sending cases to court, allowing those committing minor benefits improprieties to be charged with fraud…an offence carrying potentially long sentences.
            Once in politics, he joined in the coup by M.P.s against Corbyn, and was responsible for the disastrous decision to offer yet another referendum on Brexit which was a major factor in Labour losing the 2019 election.
            And now, faced with a report which shows Labour Party officials obstructing Corbyn at every turn and expressing dismay at the good showing made by Labour in the 2017 election, he wants to investiate the whistleblowers rather than those who were subverting the party!
            Yet they elected him as leader!
            He is a fine piece of work….

          2. You had me at Jimmy Saville. I did find an article about investigating Whistleblowers and had to be peeled off the ceiling. Corbyn suffered in the same way as Bernie Sanders did here. There was no way the Labour Party n Britain nor the Democratic Party here were going to allow a left-wing leader to succeed. And yet, both were the people’s choice. Democracy? Go figure. All things being equal and with heavy heart I have to say that Boris looks like the preferred option. I would just like to see the country I grew up in, less divided. It has really become a tiny mirror image of this place literally riven in two by Brexit and needs to heal those divides. Brexit has happened. Now get over it and get on with building a strong country. It saddens me greatly.

  4. It’s definitely not less serious than pig flu or bird flu – partly cos it is not a flu at all, but a different illness and very much more contagious than flu. In fact not much is known about this novel coronavirus, hence its name. It seems to have the ability to mutate quickly, it is highly variable, it has certain puzzling and novel features, such as hitting men much worse than it hits women in all cultures, and it is not known whether having had it confers immunity, and if so, for how long, etc. Or so my doctor friends tell me. They get 85 year olds doing really well, and 35 year olds in a terrible state even without underlying health conditions, and the progress of recovery is also very variable. It is really a bit of an unknown still. The UK govt certainly has been running down the state as you say, for about 30 years, and Johnson made it much worse by being pig-idle, a classic con man, amusing, convincing, charming, too lazy to do any real work, and happy to sit back and watch everyone who believed him go to hell. I’ll be genuinely interested to see how he wriggles out of this one. I’m sure he’ll manage to do it, because shovelling his shit over someone else’s lunch is his true talent. Sit back and wait for a master class….

    1. It trikes me that, like a lot of bugs, if you are susceptible you will get it badly and if not you will not even be aware of it. Unfortunately, Leo can’t take any risks. The pig ‘flu caught us while we were in Nicaragua…we were lucky to get back as shortly after our return he fell into a coma and needed rapid treatment…not for the ‘flu, but for the illness that any ‘flu can trigger.
      That the dry run exercise was mothballed, that nothing was done to keep stocks updated, that borders were and are open is scandalous…but the media love Boris so wait for his apotheosis as saviour of the nation.

    1. What a lovely compliment…thank you.
      I grew up in a household where politics was a major preoccupation and took part in political activity from the teenage years onward….I am one of the dinosaurs…I believe that politics should be bottom up and not top down and that belief has earned me very little but calumny and character assassination since the Thatcher/Reagan era. Not a good basis for seeking election..
      Still, hope springs eternal…perhaps after this disaster people will wake up to the incompetence of their current leaders and the impotence of their political systems – and do something about it!

  5. Well, I think it’s overdoing it rather to say the UK is now a police state. Sure, some police officers have been over-zealous in enforcing the lockdown, but that’s a long way from their controlling all aspects of our daily lives. It’s not the police that are the problem but an amazingly incompetent government that changes its policies from day to day and is constantly doing too little, too late. They still can’t provide enough PPE despite months of health workers complaining of shortages. But yes, in general your political analysis is spot on!

    1. Have you read the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2010? It gives government powers which, to be fair, have to be approved by Parliament every six months, but given the current majority and the spineless opposition does not in reality give much protection. Power to have people taken from their homes? Power to postpone elections?
      Power to section people without the current safeguards? You can do a great deal of nastiness in six months and we are no longer in the world of our youth when abuse of power was frowned upon rather than fawned upon by the press as showing ‘courage’.
      Whatever one’s view of Assange, the treatment meted out to him by the English justice system is disquieting…I would not like that attitude to spread to others under the guise of protecting the health of the nation.

  6. The rebels are rising over here protesting “police state” and although far from it in numbers the smell of greater division is permeating the air. And it’s unpleasant to say the least. It also seems like our stock market is akin to Southcott’s religious seal promulgated by our king in charge.

    1. Ah yes…as long as you pay for the seal all will be well….a pity the money the Fed is printing is confined to the banks. Unlike the stimulus programme they won’t be obliged to pay it back, that is for sure.
      I see the Florida beaches are open again…geat if people would be sensible in their use but clearly they are not. The pity is that these braindead individuals will go home and infect their grannies.

    1. Amazing how there is always money for armaments…and for banks…but now our masters have discovered how to rule by media there is no perceived need to keep the general populace fed and watered, let alone look after its health.

  7. I can’t see how the world we know can continue if all the wealth continues rising to the top, and the worker ants continue being undervalued and underpaid.

  8. Fortunately, none of the circumstances you describe apply at all to those of us in the US. Yes, I am sarcastically bitter, thank you very much. I was sufficiently silly and naive (even after all these years and experience to the contrary) to think for a moment that the virus might catalyze us to unite against a common and deadly enemy. Instead, political partisanship seems to have intensified to insane levels. Mercutio had it right but should have wished a virus rather than a pox on both their houses. But humor abides and I had to snicker at the internet wag who suggested we stop complaining about Covid-19 because he had on good authority that this diseased was deliberately loosed on the world to immunize us against Covid-20 which is the Zombie Virus. By the way, I hadn’t heard of dear old Joanna since a high school class on Dickens – nice reach back to an obscure reference.

    1. If only the bug was discriminating enough to single out those who claim to be leading our countries and our political parties…into disaster for ordinary people.To judge by their general inaction I think the Zombie Virus got there first.
      For obscure references look no further…I have a ragbag of a mind and there is no saying what lurks within.

  9. I would never have believed I would see the day when a president would urge citizens to “liberate” their states from the elected governors. This is subversion. This is taking a blunderbuss to federalism. Even his vice president is backpedaling. I could go on; it’s all rant and no answer. So, you and Leo take care, please.

  10. It is still too soon to decide which governments have employed the most effective tactics in their attempts to control Coronavirus. Most countries have tried to manipulate the spread of the virus to protect their health service. Some have been more successful than others. But when the day of reckoning comes there will be more to consider than any country’s health service.

    1. Most certainly!
      To me the testing and tracking option seems to be the most effective, but as the Home Office can’t control itself, let alone population flows, that was not going to work in the U.K.
      And how is the economy to recover? And the small companies who are the backbone of such indistry as we have left?
      If goverments are planning for the future we have yet to hear about it…and a recalled – even if virtual – parliament should be concentrating on this, but I would lay a heavy bet that it will be the usual mudslinging.

  11. Good to see you back on form on the soap box Helen. North of the border we seem to be a little bit better off than our southern neighbours in that we appear to have if not a better political setup then at least a more astute one. “Oor Nicola” is making Boris’s stand ins look downright amateurish with her efforts to rally the populace.

    We haven’t seen as yet the great unwashed, complete with the Scottish equivalent of confederate flags and AK-47s, stroll hand in hand down Sauchiehall St. complaining that it was their right to infect whoever they wished with Covid 19. Sadly the great unwashed, while hot on rights, are not too hot on responsibilities. I suspect this is a problem the world over.

    1. She comes over well on the box, too….but I would like to get to the bottom of the Alex Salmond case where the direction of the SNP is concerned. He’s not a a favourite fo mine, but I can smell the whiff of rotten fish about the prosecution from here.
      The great unwashed and the privileged private jet set have a great deal in common…gimmee, gimmee, gimmee…

      1. I suspect the A.S. prosecution was based on quite a bit of information that could only be presented as “she said, he said”. Unfortunately it looks like the prosecution mainstay was based on what appeared to be a personal vendetta. I’m not sure what the SNP would have to gain from a case like this when approaching what was to be an election year. On the basis that muck sticks it would seem an almost suicidal political manoeuvre. I’m sure it will rear its ugly head sometime in the future.

  12. I am glad to see you as fierce and feisty as always. Stay well and sane.
    One thing though: I am glad Corbyn has finally gone even though he saw himself as having won the argument (whatever that means – sounds like Trump’s boasts).

  13. All those deaths due to failures of organisation and forethought, the covering up of unbelievable incomptence …it makes my blood boil.
    Corbyn always had the arguments….the leaked report on internal Labour Party shenanigans reveals how far the people who have given us the privatised state will go – the privatised state which has failed so spectacularly.
    As for the virus front…so far. so good. Costa Rica has a population of some six million and several weeks in has six deaths due to the bug.
    Look after yourself!

  14. Loved your opening paragraph – and, of course, the generally uplifting nature of your article! I can only offer selective comments. While there are of course more serious diseases in the world, I can tell you that Covid-19 (or whatever) is serious – and highly contagious. Whilst accepting that human nature is fundamentally selfish, I’m idealistic enough to believe that most people would like a better world for everyone, but differ over the means to achieve it. In the UK, I suspect that most people vote the way they do because the alternatives are worse – and that was certainly the case last December; the idea of the previous, labour regime handling anything beyond a bigoted fringe protest group is laughable. Of course, the current government isn’t perfect (who is and how do you define perfection in that context anyway?), but neither is it devoid of talent. Hopefully Starmer and the new shadow team will provide some intelligent, sensible, opposition. Who knows, perhaps it will calm down the destructive acrimonious nature of politics we have seen in recent years; that would be a start. Stay safe, both of you – love reading your stuff!

    1. Ye s, I agree, it is contagious, but whether the severe effects will be felt by all, justifying destruction of an already weak economy, is open to question in my view. I am also disturbed by the accuracy of the figures announced, where the bug is held to be the cause of death where other factors are present, factors which in themselves can be a cause of death….and no autopsies to check on the stated cause of death.
      I don’t wish to understate the unpleasantness of the full blown bug – that would be to insult those suffering – but feel that less drastic measures would have allowed more small businesses to continue.
      We are used to shutting ourselves up, thanks to Higher Authority’s lack of an immune system, but jolly glad we are notdoing it in the U.K.!
      I think most people are well intentioned, wishing no harm to others – though the tone of some of the pro Remain sites would give room for doubt on that score – but when it comes to elections, thanks to the party system too often one is obliged to vote for the least worse – the ‘menos mal’ as one candidate here described himself – as no candidate enshrines one’s hopes and wishes. Thus Macron in France – having shafted Fillon to remove any competition from the right – thus Johnson in the U.K.
      I disagree on Corbyn…though the broadband for everyone was a daft idea too far… He was shafted by the Brexit fudge and now we have its author, Starmer, in the driving seat, though from his spinelessness so far – faced with an open goal – it looks as if he prefers to stay in neutral.
      The country has been let down, not only by government, but by the governmental systems, modelled on private enterprise, which have spectacularly failed. Attention needs to turn to NHS management, to failures to respond to offers from U.K. businesses to meet the need for equipment, to the inability to react, to be flexible. Just look at the system for recruiting people to pick fruit and veg!
      If this experience does not push people to question the centralisation, the needless bureaucracy and the privatisation of the machinery of the state then I just wonder what will!
      I’m enjoying the videos…very British in tone and content!

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