Wednesday, 19 November 2008

England our England

Travelling along with an old friend I was struck by their loyalty to England. It has been accepted between us always that my views are to the left of theirs and that this is in part the result of class and upbringing as well as levels of wealth and connection. People like me benefitted immeasurably from the provision of opportunity in education, the availability of medical services, the removal of gross social conflict achieved by subsidised housing and unemployment benefit; and from the opening up of professional work, both government and private, to the influx of the meritocratically qualified. The scolarships and grants we won were to an entire lifestyle, not just to a school or university or professional training.

When we see New Labour tearing all this down, installing a surveilled client voter base with all that implies for the infliction of social and economic rigidity, masked under apparent expenditure increases in what once was such an admirable provision, our anger is much greater than that of those who never had to use, nor would consider using for their families, any of it.

Their loyalty is to their England, and if some aspects are authoritarian or deny social mobility, or cause financial misery for millions, that is a current misfortune that has occurred before and will be corrected by some felt but undefined quality of the English way of arranging the world; England has been through all of this before, and it doesn't really touch us, does it? New Labour are the government - yes, Brown's accession to power is iffy, but he is the prime minister now - and while they are the government they should have our support. Certainly they are unattractive, yes, they are failing quite large numbers of people, indeed, quite deliberately to enjoy being in power. Yes they lie and are amazingly hypocritical, all of that. But look at the United States; think of the support being offered to their new president by all Americans; we don't make such a public virtue of it but we cannot deny our support to our own country just because of the reprehensible Brown and his peculiar government. That would be to concede far too much importance to a temporary embarrassment. And staring at poor behaviour isn't quite right either.

True, all of it, but I cannot detach myself from all the people who are being let down, deprived, being fobbed-off with the third- and worse - rate, unnecessarily impoverished, plain bullied, because the England to which one owes allegiance is untouched, and attitudes and upbringing make protesting their condition, which most of the people seem to accept, graceless.

Also, this time, they aren't going to go away, you know.


Calfy said...

I have been confused myself. Wondering whether I am loyal to England even if feeling sick and outraged and ashamed by the blighted Government of the time, or whether simply feeling sick and outraged and ashamed, and musing daily on emigration.

I think loyalty to England is hanging onto something that isn't really there, an idea and nothing more.

Being English is not something that in the present age garners much respect abroad, as we are had to believe it might once have done.

Though we still have some of my favourite countryside :-)

hatfield girl said...

I was wondering, C, if Mr Cameron isn't hampered by this. When offering co-operation to the government at a time when the economy and thus the life of the country is in the balance, he is met by the ferocious, unprincipled partisanship of a denatured Scot.

New Labour has no links to England, or to the United Kingdom. For them, it is part of various regions of north western Europe. It sustains itself with an ideology of post democratic, permanent state administration, integrating ever more closely in to a planetary governance and efficient resouces allocation with a caste of international rulers.

England is leaderless in some ways because this threat has not been fully identified as different from preceding, even the most dangerous threats of the past.

This is colonisation by other means than war.

Sackerson said...

Colonisation? Goetterdaemerrung, and consciously so. Bakunin - the urge to destroy is also a creative urge, fnarr, fnarr and pass the chanpagne.

Electro-Kevin said...

It strikes me as odd that so many grammar school/private ed graduates have been involved in this conspiracy.

It's as though working class vendettas have been transfused into the highest echelons.

Anonymous said...

I am very much at home in the South West, and in the months from March to June - at least - would not rather be anywhere else. That's my notion of English (and I am half Irish and a quarter Cornish, so not a lot of English).

I am however, starting to feel (rather pleasantly) old-fashioned. And a-propos of nothing, there's a rather independent feel to things down here. Backs turned to London.

Anonymous said...

"Also, this time, they aren't going to go away, you know".

As I keep saying, the trains are still running and the airports open.
How much longer before you all need an exit visa for a day trip to Calais?

WV: Buggir. (!!!!!)