14 February 2009

bad english

You read the news coming out of Great Britain and the common thread is that the "Great" has gone missing in action. Or had the life and meaning squeezed out of it. Was it forty years of Labour softness following the enlightenment of the 60s? A relentless death spiral as the nation most known for queueing simply slowly lost its manners?

Or did the relentless individualism promulgated by Thatcher plunge the knife into quintessential British community spirit?

You get the drift. There has to be a simple ism to blame.

Except life isn't quite that simple and we all know it. But, to use a contemporary cliche, you can see a perfect storm brewing in the UK. A rise in violence, particularly amongst the young, witness the recent spate of teenage stabbings in London. Long simmering resentment at the waves of immigrants, first from Jamaica, then the subcontinent and now, courtesy of the expansion of the European Union, Eastern Europe. All willing to work for less than the locals.

Then the
massive bank collapses as part of the GFC, and still getting worse. Read this, then read the analysis of how it's affecting British society.

They're now calling it
Broken Britain and there's oodles of stuff on the internet if you choose to look. This last link points to the myriad interconnected factors, both possible causes and symptoms.

"It's a fair cop, and society is to blame."

Must be a sign of ageing and the apparent conservatism that comes with, in evidence here at VVBSea. Although I haven't yet asked Mrs VVB what she thinks of it.

We've been through it in harmless microcosm: I can still remember my father's disdain, bordering on disgust, for rock music because he was a jazzer. (And it was Cream he picked on, of all the bands! What a heretic!). Well, guess what I think of rap (and the strangled gargling that nowadays passes for rhythm and blues)?

If music is a valid example, we are in a downwards spiral.

Then the other part of the brain kicks in (well, it's VVB so it kind of slithers, but anyway...) and we think, "no, look at the advances in technology, how well we live on the average, other indices of well-being and so on" and come to a conclusion that the media is beating it all up (did you notice that one of the links I gave was to The Sun, hardly a bastion of informed journalism)? Yes, what we're seeing is the inevitable drop in the ocean, nothing to worry about.

Except if the UK middle class just eventually calls "enough" at the theft of their livelihoods, careers and pensions by an unrepentant banking sector which is still lining its pockets, and decides to get physical, then there's apparently a substantial disengaged and potentially violent underclass right there to teach them how to do it.

Perfect storm indeed.


Sam the Dog said...


I was in the UK in the mid- to late-90s and optimism was the name of the day. Britpop, Cool Brittania, you name it.

Now when things are bad the media, which has no memory, and its consumers, many of whom are similarly afflicted, think that things have been bad forever.

phil said...

Yes Sam. That's the half of my argument that we shouldn't get overly worked up about this stuff.

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