Wednesday, 17 July 2013

BLOGGING IS A PECULIAR PASTIME. It presupposes so many things. Firstly, that the blogger has something valuable or entertaining to say. Secondly, that the blogger suspects there might be an audience for what he or she has to say. In the absence of anything more productive to do, some bloggers actually seem intent on making a living out of their effort, by attracting advertisers and niche marketers to their site.
REJECTED POLITICIANS are a particular sub-species of blogger. Long after they have faded from public view, they stand like some M&S-suited King Lear, mouthing off into the tempest, resolute in the belief that their election defeat was an aberration, and that they still have an audience.
BUT WAIT…Is not this a blog? Is Pickwick not guilty of the same hubris and self-importance that he criticises others for? Guilty as charged, m'lud. Yes, of course I am. I love words. I love writing them much more than I love saying them. Think of this blog as little more than an elderly gent sitting in front of a recording device, and emptying his thoughts in your general direction. Bloggers are the digital inheritors of the mantle of generations of eccentrics and losers who have stood on boxes in Hyde Park, and berated their deriding audience.
POLITICS AND MORALITY DIVIDE US ALL. Everyone has the answer. No-one has the workable solution, despite what they say, tweet and blog. I grew up in a working class family with strongly traditional values. You didn't lie, you didn't cheat, you played fair, and you voted Labour, even if the rich bastards three streets away were getting away with all sorts, because they 'knew people', and were smart with their investments. I was lucky enough, and clever enough to go to a Grammar School, where I was taught discipline, perseverance, and - most importantly - that 'self' didn't matter. You did things because they were right or because they benefited other people. You opened the door for ladies, gave up your seat on the bus, and were generally what modern class warriors would call an Uncle Tom.
WHERE IN THE WORLD HAS THIS LEFT ME? Basically on a desert island, along with a few other gentle souls who were brought up to be God Fearing, respectful (where it was due) and polite despite provocation. Politically, no party seems to understand my heritage. The Labour party is a lost cause. Conservatives are the Devil's Spawn. UKIP? - they come closest to embodying what I feel about life and responsibility, but they are a candle in the wind, hamstrung with fascist baggage and beset by unchallenged schoolboy reporting by the mainstream media.
BRITAIN IS PROBABLY AS DIVIDED AS IT HAS EVER BEEN. OK, we have done away with The Poor Law, and  workhouses, but we are likely to define the relative poverty of a family by how many Sky channels they can access. What passes for the moral high ground is fought over, captured and retaken with the monotonous regularity of WWI trench warfare. The main voice the Left is a middle-class, twerpy Oxford MA, who fits his Pound-Shop-Philosophising around his frenetic media commitments. Does he return each evening to his grimy brick terraced house, wash the coal dust from his calloused hands, and sink into his bed safe in the knowledge that he has completed an honest day's labour? What do you think? On the other bench we have the  Conservative Party Old-Etonians, who occasionally hand out tit-bits to their more plebeian supporters around the counties, and continue to protect their own interests, and those of their powerful friends. I do support their efforts to get rid of Britain's corrosive 'something for nothing' welfare budget, and broadly agree with the simple idea - "Put something in, and you can take something out." Whether they will have the bottle to clamp down on feckless fecundity is another matter. No matter that we can't afford to feed or clothe them, we'll have as many kids as we want. Because we can. And because someone else will pay.
I HAVE HUGE ISSUES WITH THE CRIES OF 'CHILD POVERTY' that are shrieked whenever someone tries to get a grip of the huge benefits bill. When I used to work with the school attendance team, we were summoned to a house in a certain Lynn suburb, after a mum had said she couldn't get her 15 year old daughter into school. This family were officially 'poor' - free school meals, the works. I went with a woman from Children's Services, and parked outside their council house, taking care not to scratch the silver BMW 3 series parked on their front, with my tatty Citroen. Went inside. Beautifully decorated house. Dad/ boyfriend/partner playing GTA on a a wide screen just a bit short of the one in The Luxe. He didn't even turn round or get up off the couch. "They're out the back mate", was his only contribution. Eventually managed to prevent young lady from throttling mum, and hauled her off to school, having persuaded her to leave her £60 trainers behind, and wear her school shoes. We used to have episodes similar to that three or four times a month - different families, same scenario. Let no-one tell me Britain is not a broken, screwed up society, where decent people slog their butts off to provide for wastrels.