Thursday, 15 March 2018
Poking the Bear
There’s a mood in the air; the smell of ‘had enough’. After decades of trying to tolerate an uneasy peace, where anything goes and no deviation from former norms must be challenged, maybe the tide is beginning to turn. I grew up in a world where there were rules and it was a far easier world than today. You knew who to associate with and who to avoid; people generally kept company with their own and stayed within the broad confines of the law.
Not for nothing is the dog ‘man’s best friend’ for, like canine-kind, people co-exist more easily when they know where they fit. Order is more comfortable than chaos and while you may disagree with your master’s decisions, it is often simpler to follow orders than to give them. But the last thirty years have seen a rapid erosion of order and a dissolution of boundaries whereby the rules seem to change on a daily basis.
Who is the enemy? Seriously, a big part of social cohesion is knowing who you are with and who you are against. For example, are you British, or are you a pan-European, non-gender-defined, faux-libertarian, socially fluid, non-aligned citizen of the new world order? Do you define your own liberty by the degree to which you discomfit others? Is your insistence on living what you perceive (today) to be your own unique and nebulous identity - and demanding special consideration for same - actually helping?
Rebelling is fine. We all do that at some time. But you have to have something to come back to; a tribe, a place, a national identity. What do you tell your children they are? Because if you don’t tell them somebody else will – and has been doing for some years now. There has been a reported rise in mental disorders and antisocial behaviour, strongly correlating with a general breakdown in social order and the rise of the ‘me-me’ protest industry. It can’t be totally unrelated.
So, actually, yes, I welcome the reaction to the Russian poisoning business and I suspect Parliament does, too – at least it distracts the gaze away from the muslim rape gang issue for a while. Uniting against a common threat is often the catalyst for crystallising where your priorities lay and for the majority that is signalled by a resurgence of patriotic self-preservation. Some will receive rude awakenings when they discover their pet preoccupations are no longer indulged by the wider public.
And still others, like Jeremy Corbyn yesterday, will discover that their sloganizing, patronising, dismissal of principles that many still hold dear reveal them to be part of the problem and not part of the solution. Do I think Russia did it? How could I? I have no access to the evidence. Do I think that the NATO alliance (not the EU; this has nothing to do with the EU) suddenly deciding a line has been crossed and coming together against a perceived aggressor is going to solve the moral decline of the west, re-align our priorities, re-set our sensibilities and re-energise our national spirits? Maybe not, but perhaps it’s a start.