Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Gathering Storm

Firstly, I should clarify an earlier post. Although the destruction of the Scottish nationalist cult would, under normal circumstances, be a good and wholesome thing, the fact that incipient British fascism has been the engine of its destruction does not fill one with hope.
It's at times like this I wish I knew how to speak a foreign language; in particular, right now I'd love to be able to read what the Russian language press is saying about the banking bailout. It has been the diametric opposite of the 'shock therapy' that Western economists inflicted on the Russians in the 1990's; the British and American governments' hypocrisy in taking what are considered to be strategic industries into public ownership has hopefully not gone unnoticed in that great and long-suffering nation.
The events of the past two months have given shock therapy a fatal shock. At all times and under all circumstances, it was juju economics, the triumph of ideology over reason, fact and compassion. It deserves to be consigned to history. The British and American governments' refusal to practice upon their own citizens what they insisted other countries practice upon theirs renders it a dead letter; and Sachs should never, never be awarded the Nobel.
Yet as we look around us, there is little cause for celebration.
Over the past few weeks, I've expressed my fear that the current downturn will render the generation which has grown up in the last two decades unable to cope with the psychological shock of being unable to consume what they want, when they want. A close relation has pooh-poohed this fear, mentioning the Dunkirk spirit and how we'll all pull together; yet I remain afraid that Dunkirk was a long time ago, and that the spirit of the public, such as it is, has moved a great distance in the interim.
At the time of Dunkirk, our sense of community was very much more well-developed than it is now. As Peter Singer noted in 'One World', who goes to their neighbour to borrow a cup of sugar anymore? We go to the supermarket to buy another bag instead.
We were not socially atomised, had not yet been infected with the poisonous nostrum that 'there is no such thing as society'; a time traveller from 1940 would be astonished at the ill manners shown by those who blast loud music into the ears of their fellow travellers on public transport. We did not have DVD box sets and iPods to use as substitutes for human interaction.
We were not a multicultural society. One set of values, rooted in Judaeo-Christian thought, held sway, and a greater majority were willing to live by them then than might be the case now.
We had no welfare state to fall back upon, worklessness was stigmatised and dreaded and we had to work together to ensure the greatest welfare of the greatest number; now, many go to a JobCentre at 16 and get swallowed into the benefit culture for life.
The cultural roots from which the Dunkirk spirit sprang have long since been hacked away. We became a cultural vacuum, which we filled with the culture of ourselves. If you commit an act that compromises the security of a nation, they call you a traitor; if you commit an act that compromises its culture, they call you a progressive.
Or edgy.
Today's 'Sunday Herald' carried a report of 'queue rage'. This just might be the shape of things to come, and precisely what I've been talking about; a nation of consumers desperate to consume, and turning upon itself when unable to do so.
Let us hope we are spared this, and that the British people will not forget their forefathers' decency, phlegm and sense of fair play. In the scenario which is being played out, the dice could fall any number of ways. How many British people under the age of 45 really realise that they'll probably never be able to enjoy the same lifestyles, and enjoy the same security, as their parents? This is a reality; it is a recipe for intergenerational warfare, and one sees no significant effort being made to stop it.
The next two years will be critical not merely to the political survival of the British nation, but more importantly to the survival of its culture. Perhaps the Brits haven't forgotten how to rub along with each other, and do know how to make do and mend. Let's hope and pray so. At times like these, everyone needs hope. Life is change; how we cope with those changes which are forced upon us show our character. In adversity some fall at the first hurdle, others shine like stars. People of goodwill should always hope that others be saved from suffering and stress; and as the dark gathers round us, I refuse to believe that the British people will fail to respect their fellow citizens' dignity, property, humanity and lives. We should have faith in ourselves, if only to act as a reproach to that majority of our leaders who have refused to have faith in us; the mindset that has helped get us into this mess in the first place.

3 Comments:

Blogger Tendryakov said...

If you didn't see Panoram last Monday, watch it now. That'll answer some of your questions.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/7648564.stm

I'm a Russian speaker, and if I was 30 years younger and free of ties, I would not hesitate to move to Russia. I lived in the USSR for a year as a student, and it left an indelible life-changing effect on me. Not the system, but Russia the country, the people, the land, the culture, the language, . . .

21 October, 2008 23:10  
Blogger JohnM said...

Despite Labour's propaganda the welfare state started was in 1911 by David Lloyd George, who created a scheme for national insurance contributions covering unemployment and health benefits.

22 October, 2008 12:19  
Blogger Martin said...

And supplementary benefit was introduced in 1968. Thanks.

23 October, 2008 06:34  

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