Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Bright Side?

It is tempting to imagine that, after the lockdown, after the Covid-19 threat subsides, after we’ve won ‘the war’, Britain will enter a period of contemplation and industrious unity to rebuild our society in a form fit for the future. But whether your idealised future is a return to a simpler, agrarian past or a great technological surge into the robot age, it is likely that all will be disappointed. I don’t believe much will change. Oh, for sure, a small minority, already in a position to do it, will change their lifestyles entirely, but on a national scale this will be insignificant.

The naysayers will continue to say nay – it’s what they do; they just can’t help themselves. The agitators will carry on agitating – it’s all they know and now they will be invigorated by their self-told myths about how the party they hate so much deliberately tried to thin the herd. And all the tensions that already exist will continue to exist: left versus right, the west versus the rest, the educated versus the ignorant and of course the great imaginary crusade of the Labour Party… whatever it is they think they stand for now.

The one thing which will not be happening – even for the briefest period – is any form of national unity. If ever such a thing happened in the past – and it’s debatable whether it ever really did – the chances of this happening now or ever again are remote. And it is mostly because despite all the open mouths and begging bowls we are actually doing pretty well.

Our personal freedoms are so great we imagine that every request, every short-term curtailment is a cruel diminishment of them. In the past people behaved with greater discipline and respect, so little formal inducement was needed; now you are free to be as obnoxious as you wish and some human rights lawyer will argue your case, no matter how harmful your intent. Compared to any time in history our lives are so rich we believe that any reduction in our riches is impoverishment.

Freedom of religion and religious expression has led us to beliefs so narrow and partisan that any dissent from our personal orthodoxy is regarded as the most acute form of oppression. Practices utterly alien to the national psyche and interest are defended so firmly that it feels like a snub to the national interest. Whatever happened to the idea of all being part of a nation and all contributing to its interests? In striving for the vibrant, multicultural vision a great many are fearful that their indigenous culture has become second-class.

Not given to futurology much, the coming years are likely to find us become even more multi-multicultural, even more economically stratified and despite all predictions of that robot world of leisure, the majority will be brown and low caste. The best we can hope for is that the mouths of the masses are stuffed full enough to quell the urges to revolt. I don’t believe the future is as bright as some wish for. Covid-19 notwithstanding, we are probably living through the best times most of us will ever see*.

(*On the bright side, what do I know; maybe we WILL be stirred to positive action?)


  1. We do indeed live in a great time and a highly privileged nation. Yes it's got it's problems, it's yobs and idiots etc. but it's still the best time and place ordinary people have every lived in. Whatever the future brings we need to be grateful to the Brexiteers and Boris. Europe was economically shakey before the virus came and is now facing an inevitable financial disaster. Brexit will save UK from most of the terrible consequences of that and we will recover years before the disintegrating EU does.

  2. Yes yes and yes.
    "now you are free to be as obnoxious as you wish and some human rights lawyer will argue your case" in my day to day life simply insert the word children and parents.
    They are all entitled and hideous. Zero delayed gratification and low resilience.

  3. I think we have already lived through the best times. IMO the peak was in the 1990s. We had everything going. Then it just stopped. We replaced goals of improvement with goals of safety and rights that simply don't exist outside legislation. Using laws to enforce them. We are less educated than we were and the IQ across the planet has plummeted. Our politicians are useless and our education such that most of us can't identify that and this gives us the Trump issue that four years after an election they are still trying to unseat him. Think how much better we would be if they had all worked together.

    1. We are being overwhelmed by the idiocracy, the only cure for which is to live by their standards.

    2. Oh I don't think so Batsby and I doubt if you really do most days. There is a measure of amusement to be had observing the antics of the modern idiot. I try to think of it to be rather like watching the clowns at the circus. A darker side of me thinks it might be like the Victorians visiting the mad house for a laugh but we shall gloss over that if we may.