We live in interesting times. As I write there are protesters kettled by police on Westminster Bridge, and burning portaloos in Parliament Square. The army are deployed in Edinburgh, clearing the effects of the worst snow for 40 years. Meanwhile, an ‘info war’ is being waged on the largest financial services companies in the world by a disparate group of hacktivists. Digital technology allows us to watch all these crises unfold in realtime.
In my twitter stream all these stories are spliced together. This makes them seem like different scenes in a single master-narrative.
All these events are compelling because they show just how tenuous our human systems are. Visa and MasterCard should be reliable to the point of invisibility – instead we are reminded that they can turn off our credit on a political whim. The food supply into our cities should be consistent and unbroken, not severed by a bit of snow. And our shopping districts should not erupt into blazing vandalism in an instant.
These confusions expose the thin seams of our society. I do not think they will break, for tonight at least. But the strain is obvious.