Levers of Power
We burned the Palace of Westminster to a carnival atmosphere. I brought the kids out, and the little one sat on my shoulders and laughed as the flames rose higher and cheered as the great stone facades fell away into the Thames. It felt cleansing – it was cleansing – as swept away the old, dead world, all that corruption and greed and failure. We stood under red-lit skies and listened to the distant gunfire, and I promised the next generation that this time we’d get it right. What we strip away, I told them, it is now yours to create anew. The greatest freedom, a freedom from history. They may not now, but eventually they will understand.
My Dad always told me that it’s not enough to destroy, you have to learn to create in it’s place. Like a volcano, he said, that burns everything away but leaves fertile soil behind. That’s why he’s become a Deputy, and thats why they’d hanged him, in the end, a counter-revolutionary and a traitor, a man who’d stood in the midst of the Great Change and promised me and my sister freedom, and left us with only memories of a time when you could walk streets after 10pm or meet up with more than five people without friends. You have to create, he said, but first you have to destroy. Freedom has a price, and that price is sometimes paid in fire and blood. My children will understand.
A name can be a curse and a gift. When Father died, clearing away in a cloud of rubble and carnage, the Final Junta, having that Name opened many doors for a poor girl from south of the River, and I must admit, looking out over the city as I do, that I must thank him for that. But politics can be such a burden, especially when there is so much to do, and you are so far from any ability to effect change. It’s just management really, little tweaks around the edge of vast, unhelpful tides from abroad and the people that cry Fathers name, and betrayal of his legacy, simply don’t understand that. Still, one can hope, at least, that the children will understand.