Saturday 6 May 2023

Long to Rain Over Us

 A propos of nothing in particular, the other day I found myself watching a short film clip of London in the 1960s. As I bathed in the warm nostalgia it occurred to me to wonder where they had put all the black and brown people while they did the filming. The clip was a montage of shots and didn’t appear to be a highly organised affair, so my conclusion could possibly be that here this was documentary evidence that my memories are not false after all.

Yes, readers, despite being told for decades now that Britain was built, actually built, by ethnic diversity this is simply not true. For people of my generation – late boomer, for reference - there really was a golden age, when people of Britain knew who they were and where they had come from. And not only were we white, we were fairly homogeneously white at that, the majority of the population coming from a stable ethnic mix over the last thousand years.

I distinctly remember how you could easily spot a foreigner; they just looked different. A swarthy complexion, exaggerated features, something about the way they dressed, the way held themselves… and of course, their accent. You could instantly discern, almost without thought and pretty accurately that somebody was ‘not from here’. Nowadays, any such assumption would condemn you as a hideous racist.

The various affiliations which can all be accurately assigned to a lumpen ‘the left’ are naturally proud that we no longer know who belongs here and who we can trust. Everybody is equal, they claim, when the clear evidence of everyday life is expressly to the contrary. Britannia ruled the waves and with this confident certainty we all clung to a belief in the rectitude of our national morality and the fairness of our national conversation.

It wasn’t perfect – far from it, of course – but we knew who we were as a people and we were invested in, if disorganised about, a better future for all. Sure, we welcomed incomers, especially where they imported skills, attitudes and intellects which benefited the whole. And while we were uneasy about the displacement of some formerly white working classes by incoming and different ‘communities’ we recognised the instinct to live among your own and dutifully moved out of those areas.

But it has continued and accelerated and with the coronation service today being, by the King’s wish, a multi-faith, multi-community, multi-ethnic affair it is being enshrined in our unwritten constitution. By royal approval. To speak out about it is heresy, or even a crime. To deal in facts is to deny the new history, being rewritten openly, right in front of our eyes. As the late Sir Roger Scruton observed:

 "Take any aspect of the Western inheritance of which our ancestors were proud, and you will find university courses devoted to deconstructing it..."

"Take any positive feature of our political and cultural inheritance, and you will find concerted efforts in both the media and the academy to place it in quotation marks, and make it look like an imposture or a deceit."

Pennies from heaven? I think not...

The heavens have chosen to rain on the coronation parade today, after a decent spell of calm, dry weather. For those of a prophetic leaning this might be taken as an ominous sign. Is Coronation Day going to become some sort of St Swithin’s Day event? Has the sun forever set on all that we were? It certainly looks like it. Even the optimist will find it hard, given the apocalyptic events of the last half century, to imagine today marks a new beginning for all but the King himself. Long to ‘rain’ over us?

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