There's nothing natural, I said to H., there never was. Not for you or I or for anyone, I said. Ideology is what passes itself off as what is natural and eternal, I said. So it is that Winnersh Triangle has always existed and was always meant to exist, I said. At the very beginning of life on earth, I said, in the first amoebas, Winnersh Triangle was already latent I said. All of nature was awaiting the appearance of the clever corporate type, I said, the one who justifies corporatism to himself according to the laws of nature. This is pure ideology, I said, don't doubt it. But here and now, today, what is natural and eternal and the end to which all life struggled is Winnersh Triangle.
She is an eagle, I said to H., of the corporate type who reverses her car out of his driveway in the morning. She works in finance. She speculates for others on currencies and bonds. Hers is a world of balance-sheets and budgets. She is not like you or I, H. saddled by a strategic plans, audits and appraisals, I said. She's beyond that. She flows with Capital, speculating on Capital. The eagle looks far into the future. She is staring the future down, I said. Because she knows the future is hers, I said. All of power is concentrated in her sinews. The whole of evolution presses forward in her synapses. She can see very far into the future, I said. Soon there will be only eagles, I said, and sons and daughters of eagles. The takeover is nearly complete, I said.
They're magnificent, I said, turning in the air above us, I said. Riding the financial currents. Riding the thermals, effortlessly. Of course what they ride is information, I said. They are information-riders. Information streams around them, I said. It does so, they tell themselves, because they are fitted to ride information. She and her husband leave in the morning like eagles soaring from their nest, and both come back tired after a day of eagle's battles. When they sleep, I said, it is the sleep of the just, I said. They are innocent as an eagle is innocent. And this is so because they are on good terms with the future. It is because in their eyes there open the eyes of an eagle which have seen the future, I said, and they know what will happen.
But I know their weakness, I said. Their afraid for their daughter, I said, who is driven to a pre-school club in a 4 X 4 every morning. They know they'll have to prepare her for the world, I said. She'll have to study the right subjects at university and to cultivate the right kind of connections. True, they almost always do well, these sons and daughters of eagles, I said. They'll go the right school and the right activities. They'll study the humanities to broaden themselves a little, I said. Then they'll do a postgrad in something vocational. And then job market will spread itself before them, I said. It will open itself to them because their mothers and fathers were far sighted, I said. They knew what was coming and they knew the law of its coming. The future presses up against them, and they know Capital is liable to sudden swerves and transformations, I said. How will their sons and daughters ride the waves of Capital? A good job and a good marriage, that's what is important, they say. But above all, good connections. Connections which must be cultivated from the first, I said.
They're not like us, I said to H. The eagles are far beyond us. They have their eyes on the future. Our eyes rest on the present and the past, I said. Our eyes rest on the pages of our favourite books, I said. Meanwhile, the last drunks are being picked up and driven away. The last heroin users are being rounded up and shipped off. The criminals are all tagged and under house arrest. When the financial collapse happens in 2014, the eagles will be ready, I said. They'll be ready for new looters and new criminals. They'll be ready with guns and with their sharp eyes. But it is their children they worry for, I said. You can never be sure with their children, I said. A wrong turn might be taken. The child might go wrong somehow. They might be one of the weak and not one the strong. Lambs and not eagles.
Hence the new cult of the child, I said to H. The new cult of the child and the cult of youth. In reality, I said, it is the capture of childhood and the capture of youth. There is to be no childhood and no youth, I said, but only training. Nothing can be left to chance. Above all, there must be no free time for the eagle's child. All time must be accounted for. The child's life is a life in training. The world is venal and the child must be trained. There must be no slackness, no time in which the child wanders across the face of the world. The world is not a place in which to wander. There are drunks and addicts in the world. The outside is fearful and so the child must see the outside only through the tinted windows of a 4 X 4.
I'll bet there were patches of uncultivated land when you were younger, I said to H. I'll bet there were expanses that were not yet gold courses and housing estates, I said. There was still unused space, I said, still space left unruly and overgrown, I said. Today, parents are as suspicious of empty space as they are suspicious of empty time. Wild space, for them, is where the paedophiles lurk, I said. It's where discarded needles prod up from the bare earth, I said. It's where alcoholics gather to sprawl in the sun, I said. The child of eagles must not wander the face of the earth, I said, just as she must not know deep time, I said. Soon, they'll increase the number of school terms, I said, just as they are increasing school opening hours. Holidays will last no more than a fortnight, I said. And there will be no deep time, I said, and no face of the earth over which the child can wander.
What about us, I said to H. What of our future? These eagles are indifferent to us, I said. We teach them and they are indifferent. They can see through the pages of Marx and Foucault to the future, I said. The years of study are holiday years, I said, because they know what's ahead of them. They're ready for the years of work. They're ready to pair off, I said, according to the rules of Victorian fiction (it's all about money, prettiness and breeding), and move to the home counties to start all over again. That is what the home counties are for, I said. They're a stud farm, an experiment in breeding and rapacity.
As for us, I said to H., we are a colony. The whole of the north is a leisure park for the south. We get new galleries and new music venues and the southerners buy flats for their children, I said. Its a spectacle for southerners, I said, with the same poverty beneath. The wealth that arrives here is eagle's wealth, I said. It comes from eagle and it departs with eagles. The whole of the north, I said, is an item on an eagle's balance sheet. The university is no more than a finishing school, I said. A humanities degree is a way for the eagles to spread their wings a little, to absorb a little culture, before real life begins. Science degrees are no longer vocational; slowly, one by one, pure maths, physics and chemistry are disappearing.
The future is opening in the home counties like a long, tree-lined avenue. The eagles cruise into the future as we head into perdition. When the disaster comes, we will disappear into slack time and wild space, I said. But they do not have to fear the corrosive force of the everyday, I said. They need fear nothing of the sky above the head of the unemployed, I said. They'll carry the future with them, I said. They'll live at the brink of the future, I said. A thousand tiny gestures tell them we are not of their kind, I said. They are more rarified than us, I said, more subtle. With eagles' eyes they read the signs, I said. Theirs is the keen edge of the future, I said. And they know the future will pass us by.