We live in an era where the name Sackler can be removed from the British Museum, but the Parthenon Marbles are kept, along with many other spoils of Empire.

The next heir to the throne and his wife are rightly trounced on a tour of the Caribbean. But if there are reparations for slaves, should there then be reparations for miners and other entrapped cogs in the imperial machine ?

You can watch Downton Abbey, Bridgeton and Sanditon and long for those days where everyone ’knew their place’, but you then have to actually ask: ”where did all that wealth go” ? The billions, perhaps trillions, generated by Empire. Where did it go ? Some stately homes that are now National Trust or English Heritage ? Those royal palaces ? The Church of England ?

Certainly, the miners of South Wales or the cotton mill workers of the North of England were nearly enslaved and saw no benefit.

Churches and town halls were built, magnificently.

But where did that coin go ? All that money from selling slaves and heroin and tea and spices to the world at large ?

The UK was never a wealthy country and was utterly bankrupted by two world wars, to the degree that the war debt was only recently paid off and we maintain a debt at nearly 90% of GDP, despite having the largest empire the world has ever know at the time.

I ask again, where did all the money go ?

Today, we operate in a world barely removed from Victorian politics, where attendance at Eton and Oxford are the only pre-requisites for high office.

We know where the privilege comes from, but where did the money go ?

You cannot destroy matter and the amount of water on earth is always constant, no matter how many storms, ice, melts or rainfall. So what about wealth ?

We now mine wealth, wasting precious resources in an abstract model which is as absurd as currency, or gold, or diamonds or futures, or short positions…

Fragile URIs are contracted to sell for millions.

Wealth is created, then what ?



Sitting in the pub yesterday (now that we can again), discussing wave after wave of catastrophe – Trump, hatred, Covid, Putin, it was clear that the only thing keeping us old codgers going was alcohol. The world is a much worse place than it was ten or twenty years ago. We became dewy eyed about the cold war, for fuck’s sakes.

But the reality is, our planet needs a major nuclear war. We have probably six or seven billion too many humans who are destroying the ecosystem that sustains them.

Sophisticated as we are, our animal colonies are like any other microcosm in the living world. Our hierarchy is ’money’ (or currency) and we have a clear pecking order where the powerful (usually the ’rich’) dominate all others.

So maybe it is time for a reset. The Earth has had many in the past. Humans aren’t important. I’m not sure if anything is.