Born in 1943 this author was part of the war effort; unfortunately his arrival meant another mouth to feed while Britain was digging for victory, so his arrival offered more support to Hitler’s cause than to Churchill’s. His middle class status at birth came under threat when the Ex Forces head of the family took three years to find employment – he was one among many since the country had ‘moved on’. In the event that class status held firm after a respectable Pools win (ie, not life changing that might have allowed for swimming pools, foreign holidays etc). As an aside, it is sad reality that the citizens of this country think it is more honourable and skilful to win the Lottery or the Pools than to become rich through the sweat of the brow; consider, for example, the vitriol directed at James Dyson.
In fairness, looking forward had merit, the sinews of Government were directed towards the creation of the Welfare State while disposing of Colonies as well as those who had fought to stave off fascism – predominately the RN, Army, RAF and their respective Reserves. Those who straddled the old world and the introduction of the Welfare State really understood the step change it represented for every citizen. No surprise therefore, that they regarded the Welfare State as a privilege rather than a right; today, of course, that position has been reversed. Even in the inchoate days of the Welfare State, when free maternity care did not form part of the NHS package, the prevailing view of the population was one of gratitude.
Of course in those early years this author knew little of such considerations, being perfectly content with being a beautiful little boy (well his mother thought so although that may have been a minority view). Even so, he has the wit to contrast the baying of today’s diddums who complain about not being able to take foreign holidays or visit the hair stylist; such folk are given to instant self-gratification – I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW – and are unlikely to spare a thought the poor who are living in cramped housing conditions and are probably more deserving of a holiday – overseas or otherwise.
In the early pre-puberty years it became apparent that holidays never lasted more than a week and the only near-exotic holiday was a miserable week on the Norfolk Broads. Of course, the annual holiday entitlement, in the case of most workers, was two weeks but quite reasonably some parents wanted to spend a bit of time at home so only one week was taken to be away. It is recognised that his family had better fortune than many from, say, the East End of London whose annual holiday amounted to seven days of hop picking in the, then, Garden of England (ie, preceding the despoliation wreaked by M2 and M25). Mind you, looking at the photographs of those hop pickers they seemed to be having much more fun than we ever did on the Broads or many now do in the Costa del Sol.
In early adulthood when the initial career choice went awry, this author found himself working for the Commercial Union (CU). A generous employer, the CU allowed employees to: smoke until 0900 hours and after 1600 hours; take ten minutes for hand washing before starting and finishing work and also before lunch; and two weeks annual holiday. Impelled by a desire eventually to join the Royal Navy, it seemed a sensible wheeze to join the Reserves – the RNR. The RNR, aside from weekly training nights, demanded two weeks away with the Service; the CU agreed to this commitment at the cost of sacrificing one week of the annual leave entitlement.
Despite the shallow efforts to show commitment to the Senior Service by joining the RNR, for reasons best known to the Royal Navy Interview Board, I joined the Army. For the first six weeks of training we were confined to barracks and were only liberated after Passing Off The Square which was not a ‘given’ so freedom could be pushed further to the right. Thereafter Sundays were the only full days off and they were frequently lost, primarily for disciplinary reasons.
This parsimonious approach to free time pertained in Germany – the British Army of the Rhine. Senior Commanders took the view that the Devil finds work for idle hands accordingly those of the lower orders were obliged to work three Saturdays each month. As a policy this worked well since the programme of events for the working Saturdays involved: Getting the guns out of the garages, checking the lights and wing mirrors before repairing to the Battery Bar to get pissed. By such means the lower orders were too comatose to cause any trouble which pleased Higher Command.
Such was life for most in the period 1940 until, probably, the early/mid 1960s when Freddie Laker pioneered package holidays, car ownership increased and the upcoming generation began to view earlier privileges as contemporaneous rights; it is unlikely that, in the Army at least, this change could have occurred before the 1970s since soldiers were so poorly paid that out of hours part time work being the norm for many. It may be unjust to make such an observation but it is doubtful that modern snowflakes would have enjoyed those years; indeed, more likely, they would protest.
Protest is the back-drop of today’s world fanned by MSM and accelerated by social media – everybody has a view on everything, more often than not, backed by a total absence of knowledge or experience. Opinion transcends debate within which the assumption is made that ‘I AM RIGHT YOU ARE WRONG’; it is surely the case however that the PC rules – real or contrived – render open debate a difficult exercise. Society is beset by a mosaic of pressure groups, some of which engage in protest but most of which demand more dosh for their cause; the age of the professional protester may well have arrived. Amidst all this is the curious conundrum that the more Laws Governments introduce to facilitate a friendly functioning society the worse our behaviour becomes.
So, the UK is blessed with a truculent population with every component wanting its own way although it may be that certain groups may have unachievable goals – for example the “Gays and Muslims Unite” cadre. Such truculence embraces the right to hold Street Parties regardless of the misery such events cause non-participating neighbours. As one reveller in an unlicensed Street Party put it “We were all having fun until the police turn up with their laws”. The numpty failed to understand that not only was the event illegal but also that police do not make the law. Making laws is the responsibility of Parliament, when it’s there, and implementing them falls to the police when they can be bothered. In short of people don’t like democracy they should move on.
Complaints about modern UK life are wide ranging. Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s Justice Minister complains about the preponderance of white people in the Judiciary and the Prison Service. One might suggest that he is a good position to do something about that or even point out to him that 96.5% of Scotland is white. It could equally be contended that the bigger the pool the greater the choice of talent from which to recruit. Further, it is probably unlikely that he would be happy if there were, say, four black appointees since the next complaint might be that they are merely Uncle Toms or token appointees.
The blame game plays a fundamental part in society’s wide-ranging complaints industry. Consider the Reading knife murderer whose mother took the time to issue a statement from Sudan stating that he had been let down by ‘the system’; the caring sharing virtual-signalling clique propounded a similar complaint in the case of the Glasgow knifeman whose 3* hotel accommodation was ‘not up to standard’ (doubtless an expensive Inquiry into the star system will follow).
Within this new world of factitious mass protest, the destruction of our Nation’s symbols has been particularly unpleasant and, if allowed to continue, has the potential to rip the heart out of our cultural heritage. These destructive elements, apparently deficient of either wit or education, are, in some cases, desecrating the memory of those who fought for their right for freedom of speech. That unpleasantness now extends beyond our borders with the destruction of tombstones in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Libya – a truly sickening sight http://www.youtube.com/embed/RtgbvotqVFE?rel=0 Some might have hoped that the Archbishop of Canterbury would have had something to say on this and other anti Christian activities but he is apparently too busy studying what statues, stained glass windows and gargoyles need to be removed in the interests of giving way keeping the peace. He seems totally unaware that appeasement always ends in tears.
As our instant self-gratification society processes its concerns about RIGHTS, its citizens have not only chosen to overlook how lucky they are to live in a Liberal Democracy but also to ignore some genuinely important issues of our time such as: Mass starvation in the Yemen, FGM, child marriages, forced marriages, sex grooming of minors and widespread murder of Christians from Africa to the Far East. Those with Welfare State entitlements need not spare a thought for children in Africa who make a round trip of ten miles to collect potable water. In fairness why should they, after all holidays need to be planned and protests need to be organised.
With its many differing traditions and the consequential erosion of the host’s culture, the amicable functioning of our multicultural society has become a challenge. Although beloved by trendy politicians and espoused with enthusiasm by elite Hampstead Heath liberals, it seems to be the case that from top-to-bottom, many people retain severe doubts about the efficacy of such a society. Within the parameters of this imagined Shangri La we witness police sucking up to protesters and are obliged to suffer the acts of untalented ‘cool’ comedians who confuse acid mockery with genuine satire. Until we all learn to determine the appropriate balance between RIGHTS and PRIVILEGES, the UK is facing a huge challenge in creating a decent society. If we fail, the United Nations is ready and waiting to take on the role of World Government with the top posts being filled by the PRC – see how the protesters enjoy that option!