I first heard of the Latin origins of the English word “bus” during a genteel morning assembly scolding by Graydon Sealy, the now long-retired first principal of the former Garrison Secondary School.
One morning, sometime between my 1976 to 1982 education at that institution, the erudite Mr Sealy told myself and other students of that school, now named in his honour, that bus is derived from the Latin “omnibus”, which means “for all”.
Buses are there for the service of all members of the public, he said, not just for students travelling to and from their homes.
I remembered Mr Sealy’s words on Sunday, August 23 while reflecting on the anti-bus (antisocial) behaviour of Harry Clarke, who was unconscious behind the wheel of the bin lorry that tragically killed six people and wounded 14 others in Glasgow last December.
In the article “Consciously coupling Jeremy Corbyn and Glasgow’s bin-lorry ‘Bin-Ladin’, Harry Clarke”, published two days earlier, I had “coupled” the careening career driver Clarke’s seemingly extreme, self-serving behaviour –as reported in coverage of the related fatal accident inquiry – with that of the front-runner and main conversation-driver in the ongoing Labour Party leadership derby – the notoriously inflexible, cerebral-cholesterol-capped socialist ideologue Corbyn.
Mr Sealy’s words thus rose like a buried beacon from my subconscious to illuminate the analytical path I had first embarked on when I started comparing Clarke to Osama Bin Ladin (on Twitter) on August 20.
One day before my Wikinut article drawing attention to the “unconscious coupling” of Clarke and Corbyn was published, I had started coupling the antisocial courtroom behaviour of Glasgow “sleeper” Clarke with the selective socialism of Al Queda mastermind Bin Ladin and the sleeper-cell-camouflaged terrorists who carried out the horrific 9/11 attacks.
I was therefore well on my way to widening that analytical matrix – both in line with the socialist theories of “collectivism” promoted by Karl Marx and ideas of the “collective unconscious” advanced by Karl Jung – when Mr Sealy’s words emerged from my latent linguistic substrata with providential resonance.
Maintaining that language and ideological label penetrating thought trajectory, it was therefore just a matter of time before I started mapping Clarke’s, Corbin’s and other socialists’ coordinates onto the paradoxical plotting of Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh, a British media creation much like America’s Randolph Hearst-puffed Billy Graham, arguably.
(Despite the profound empathy I feel for blacked-out-blue-labour former Prime Minister Tony Blair, I may also add him and his “second breath” John Prescott and other socialist belief abusers to the mix eventually.)
It was only a matter of time before I put them and others “in the driver’s seat” notionally, on December 22 last year, the day that Clarke’s 9/11-like carnage unfolded amid Glaswegians’ Christmas festivities.
It was also only a matter of time before I myself became alert and awake to the extent to which Clarke’s behaviour is potentially representative of the nucleic analysis I invoked literally and figuratively in my poem Communion, written in 1982 – the year I graduated from the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, providentially.
The poem is included in my first collection “Standing”, which was heartily approved by my then former English teacher Esther Philips.
She taught at the Garrison (as it was usually called) under Mr Sealy and until recently, I thought she shared his “for all” philosophy.
About few months ago, for reasons not yet clear to me, Philips, a long valued friend and critic, informed me that she was no longer my friend.
Keeping the faith
In Communion I describe my faith-filled consciousness as an “intercourse with the nucleus of reality”.
Employing the term “nucleus” as it is used generally, I now understand how I have almost inevitably come to couple Clarke with all humanity.
That is, how I would see the validity of also putting the narcissistic Reverend Holmes Williams, writers VS Naipaul, Nailah (Lie-e-lah) Imojah, Margaret Gill and Philips, clerics Pope Francis, Noel Titus and Franklin Graham, US President Barack Obama, the ancient, “generative” Genghis Khan and even unborn babies in blacked-out Clarke’s place, behind the wheel, in line with my evolving “we-is-we”, and “wheel and come again” technologies.
Thinking or “visioning”spherically, rather than on a one-dimensional plain, I am also mindful, of course, of the relevance here of Christian and other soteriologies or salvation theories.
The Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation, in particular, comes into Sealy-like-sonorant relief boldly.
And my invoking of Mr Sealy’s name to create the foregoing gong-like auditory image is without regard for that educator’s probable Protestant Christian faith or his possible PM Stuart-led Democratic Labour Party allegiances.
Neither are necessary for the essential point I am making about how words like “socialist”, “capitalist”, “dictator”, “democrat”, “feminist”, “republican”, “monarchist”, “bus”, “bed”, “awake”, “asleep”, “terrorist”, “patriot”, “infidel” and so on, may lull us into a form of sleep or stupour, just as easily as they may keep us awake and thinking on our feet.
My essential point is about the coitus approximating creativity by which we keep things real.
It is about avoiding what I sometimes call the obesity of English, a consequence of, among other things, that language’s imperialist legacy.
Which brings me to how my forensic foraging into socialist jargon and the socialist psyche took a distinctly legal turn, thanks to the input of fellow “Wikinutter” John Welford, a Leicestershire-based career librarian with “degrees in English/Philosophy and Librarianship”.
Welford is the only person who up to the writing of this article, had commented on my coupling of Clarke and Corbin.
A sometimes Labour Party supporter, he sought to defend Clarke’s courtroom silence and other perversely “law-abiding”, behind-legal-loopholes-hiding behaviour, writing “The reason why Clarke is not apologising in court is that legal proceedings against him have been set in motion, and whatever his personal feelings he is bound by what his lawyers have told him in terms of not compromising his position now in the light of future legal action.”
I rejected this defence, focusing rightly, I believe, on Clarke’s moral responsibility, as opposed to his legal rights. I wrote: “Harry Clarke has the choice of following or ‘over-ruling’ whatever legal advice he’s receiving. There must come a time when we all confront our own folly and fallibility.” I continued “Clarke seems to have spent his adult life (at least) denying his own humanity and accountability to other human beings. He’s a sad indictment on his generation.”
However, it was when Welford persisted with his legalistic focus, stressing a right of defendants under Scotland’s legal system “not to make admissions in advance of their appearance in court” that I was obliged to invoke the age-old, oft-quoted aphorism “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done” bringing it into broad, possibly unfamiliar (to Clarke) socialist relief.
I wrote “Legal systems are only as sound as their capacities to serve the sustainable, principled aspirations and objectives of the societies that construct them.” I continued “Beyond the law is the truth, the essential components of which are clear, in this instance: six people have died (and many others injured) due to Clarke’s ‘malfeasance’. Justice is not being done or being seen to be done by Clarke’s legalistic delaying of his being held to account. In short, he and his lawyers are obscenely delaying a just resolution of this matter.”
Consistent with my socialist nucleic analysis, I should also note the conscious or unconscious “complicity” of other sleepy socialists at First Bus, Glasgow County Council, the DVLA, the trade unions UNISON and/or the GMB (possibly) and elsewhere, whose “camaraderie” with Clarke led to him being behind the wheel of that bin lorry last December. (Calls by this writer to Glasgow Council have identified these two trade unions as the main possibilities. But I have not been able to establish whether Clarke was a member of either one.)
I am also inclined to assign Sheriff John Beckett QC and Scottish Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland a share in the Glasgow bin lorry crash saga’s collective culpability.
Actually, as my article “Prince Andrew scandal, ‘Shebola’ nurse critical, ship off Scotland sinks – is Scotland jinxed?” indicates, I have deep concerns about Scotland’s moral viability.
I believe the crisis in policing there is particularly indicative of what I would call its Barbados-twinning, Scotland-District-susceptibility-to-erosion mimicking vulnerability.
Noted for its superstratally sterling contribution to British cultural-political progress particularly, I think the many spectacular catastrophes that have visited it within recent years are symbolic, numinous (Jung) pointers to its underlying, Lloyds Bank-like fallibility.
Readers familiar with my ongoing dispute with that venerable institution over its very questionable closure of my Intelek International business account in 2012 should know what I mean.
My article Lloyds Bank: “deliberately fraudulent or simply full of failings”? sets out a case at the interface of conscious and unconscious error elaborately.
In it I address questions of human agency, culpability and mens rea (guilty conscience) in legal and broader social contexts.
I have also called for a less anti-social use of Lloyd’s discretionary powers in an online petition and private correspondence to Antonio Osorio, the bank’s chief executive.
Similarly, while seeking to “lawyer up”, by taking my human rights abuse petition against the Stuart-led Barbados government to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, for example, I have also sought to appeal to Stuart’s and other Barbadian power-brokers’ consciences publicly and privately, via the mediation of the Queen and the British High Commissioner to Barbados, Victoria Dean.
Without prejudice to the Barbados government, Lloyds Bank and Scotland’s or any other legal system, I think it is safe to say that the capacity of law makers, legal lenders and legal institutions to pervert the purpose of the law and the course of justice is well established.
And this is perhaps more true of ecclesiastical law, than it is of any other legal system.
As I am at pains to point out in my book The Bible: beauty and Terror Reconciled and elsewhere “the letter killeth” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Obedience to the letter of the law at the expense of the spirit of the law is in fact a well known idiomatic antithesis.
And I have no doubt that Mr Osorio’s legal advisers, like Barbados PM Stuart, a lawyer by profession, are aware of such legal miscarriages.
Such miscarriages of purpose and meaning blight all routes of communication that bus-like human language services.
They entail a blinding or blackingout of our collective consciousness relative to principles of equity and fairness that are intuitively agreed.
It is inspired drivers-interpreters like Graydon Sealy, who not only “speak a word in season”, but whose words resonate long after, who ensure the unity of word and spirit: they ensure the authentic integration of ends and means.
Their consciousness and vigilance are alluded to where the Bible speaks of such oracles capacity to bring old and new together presently – a point which The Message version of the Bible makes succinctly: “He said, ‘Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.’”(Matthew 13:52).
Without such conscious and conscientious drivers-interpreters of everyday, ordinary and technical legal and other specialist language, the word “omnibus”, like Latin, the language that spawned it, is a “dead letter”, virtually.
Omnibus, a core-cog in the linguistic “bus” wheel, is thereby robbed of its generative or “procreative”, depths sounding efficiency.
The superstratal physical “thinning” of the word “bus” therefore also entails a substratal, semantic fattening or thickening of it simultaneously.
Anti-bus behaviour may be construed as excessive, fatty, cholesterol-clogged, sleepy-psychological behaviour, essentially.
It clogs our communicative, creative arteries.
Alternately, we might compare Clarke’s, Corbin’s, Lloyds Bank’s and others’ inflexible, discretion diminishing behaviour to that of a flat tyre or otherwise deflated or disfigured wheel.
Alternately, we may say that without a driver like Mr Sealy behind the wheel or at the helm of a political party or machinery of state, words, the vehicle of meaning, become anti-bus, divisive, potentially destructive automobiles.
Without a Sealy-like focus on social inclusion, still-born semantic separations, like Corbyn’s simplistic proposal to introduce women-only train carriages emerge inevitably.
As one Norfolk woman asked me, ”What happens to couples who are travelling together?”
Apparently Corbyn, like his Labour comrade and political advisor Clive Lewis, did not think that one through very carefully.
But those who remember Norfolk MP Lewis’ electioneering gaffe about the circumstances in which he and then Labour leader Ed Miliband may be found on either end of a goat might say that with such coital conceptualisations, these men’s understandings of women clearly beggar belief.
Corbyn’s choice not to attend his mother’s funeral and his decision to divorce his second wife over public perceptions of his political “purity” are put in perspective simultaneously.
A more properly penetrative reader of the Mona Lisa smile or the Girl With A Pearl Earring’s slightly parted lips, would recognize that whether women and men sit together or apart on a train (or bus) is secondary.
As another, younger Norfolk woman I asked about this matter said, the primary concern should be to address the root or core-cog causes of violence against women in society.
A more radical, realist, sustainable socialist approach recognizes that among other unintended consequences, rather than protecting women, that kind of isolation could make the targeting of them by predators, more easy.
And I must note here that those predators may be both males and females, as pointed out by Barbadian psychologist and cleric Marcus Lashley.
He made this point indirectly while discussing power relations in homosexual relationships during a panel discussion held on the island in February 2011.
According to a report by my former Caribbean News Agency (CANA) colleague Trevor Yearwood, Lashley said there’s a lot of domestic violence in Barbados’ gay and lesbian communities and attributed this to the inequality of the parties in those relationships.
“There is always a significant power differential and it is how that power differential is manifested that is of tremendous significance. There’s also a lot of violence because it is a close-knit community. It is, in essence, a minority community and therefore there is tremendous possession, tremendous jealousy, tremendous fear and that motivates a lot of the actions,” he said.
Fundamentalist, ideologically inflexible trade unionist and other socialist ideologues have difficulties grasping these subtle, “bus-within-a-bus” or “wheel-within-a-wheel” gender realities.
Like the poisonous Pan Africanist pedagogy of Barbadian Rastafarian Ras Jahaziel (a mouthpiece of politico-educational demagogue Sir Hilary Beckles and selective socialist politicians David Comissiong and Robert “Bobby” Clarke, possibly) they are prone to opportunistic generalizing and stereotyping, whether doing so unconsciously or unconsciously.
A one-sided, calorie-rich, African history caricaturing film attributed to Jahaziel, entitled “The Holy Scriptures of Reparations” that has come to my attention only today (September 4) makes my point spectacularly.
To be continued…