When it dawns on one that nothing is real, you realise what an enormous task it’s going to be achieving the triumph of hard fact over false fancy.
This is either a blinding glimpse of the obvious, or a useful insight. I’ll leave it up to the comment thread to judge.
“Is there nothing in contemporary life you feel at one with?” a frustrated friend asked me five years ago. To which my answer was “No”.
Let’s take those elements that go to make up a social, financial, economic, legal and political culture. My contention, by the way, is get any one of these wrong, and your culture will not be a real civilisation. By each one is a thumbnail judgement:
Family environment: Splintered by electronic entertainment and time starvation, diluted by divorce.
Parenting: Muddied by feminism, perverted by money or lack of it.
Education: Infected by pc, rendered useless by targets process, lacking in inspiration, discouraging of individual opinion or creative thought.
Community: Almost homoaeopathic in urban centres, destabilised by multiculturalism, fractured by ineffective policing, starved by domestic ents technology and work/career obsession.
Tolerance: Close to breaking point, exacerbated by religious fanaticism, activist ideologists and media mendacity.
Sport: A key means of rendering tribalism harmless destroyed by money and win-at-all-costs: diving, ball-tampering, bribery, drug enhancement.
Income: Destroyed at the macro level by decades of sovereign borrowing, dangerously inflammable because of inequities at the micro level, manipulated valuation, and shadow banking.
Policing: Destroyed by officer ambition, media relations, politicisation, pc, corruption, abysmal expertise and budget cuts.
The Law: Equality abandoned long ago, ethics destroyed by money, independence infected by politics, increasingly ignored by the Executive, wedded to an incarceration system based on retribution.
Healthcare: Slowly destroyed since 1970 by unionisation, budget cuts, private finance scams, systemic bloating, big hair, more budget cuts and creeping privatisation.
Democracy: Lacking both electoral enthusiasm and clear information – destroyed by political spin and legislator greed.
Liberty: Rapidly disappearing thanks to UK foreign policy allied to NATO, membership of the EU, IRA atrocities, Islamic radicalisation and élite self-protection.
Compassion: Increasingly absent on key issues – Junior Doctors, the disabled, Waspi pension – and largely replaced by ideological hatred.
Media: Rendered pointless by conspiracy nutters, proprietor interference, lazy journalism, spin & counterspin, poor ideas, celebrity obsession and lack of compassion: Truth sacrificed on the altar of ad revenue, hits and sales.
They’re all mutually inclusive, and no doubt we could argue up Hillary and down Ian Dale about emphasis and causality. But the problems themselves are not the insight. The insight is this:
They’re all disconnected from reality
There are very few families any more, and most of them involve half this and step that. Parents rarely present a united front these days, and ‘serious’ conversations in the average household are on hold until Strictly‘s finished.
Kids pass GCSE language exams and can’t speak a word of it. In debate they have two settings: zero offence and maximum offence. Their naivety about privacy is terrifying.
There’s a chain on every door and a “whatever” mentality in every community. Any communal feeling is rubbed out online at Twitter, along with tolerance.
No sportsman is “worth” £100,000 a week and no footballer seems able to accept a ref’s decision. The biggest Party at the last General Election was the Not Coming to the party Party. The electoral system is 16th century, the Tory Party uses 18th century ideology and the Labour Party follows the teachings of 19th century fanatics.
We have a £3 trillion National Debt/Liabilities bill, to which the solution seems to be charging the poor while giving tax cuts to rich folks and global combines. The man in charge of the NHS claims he loves it, but eight years ago co-authored a pamphlet arguing for its total destruction.
Rebekah Brooks was found not guilty, Andy Coulson didn’t perjure himself, David Cameron had eight years of MP and zero executive experience when he became Prime Minister.
Police fit up celebrities and dine with media moguls, send people into a prison system that has never worked, and MPs ignore the obvious reformation success that comes from giving prisoners self-respect.
Elections are based on personalities, gerrymandering, vote stuffing and lies. MPs pledge support for Waspis and then vote against methods to offer them relief. Labour supports an EU that crushes any and all socialist resistance in Europe, and activists think that 180,000 new member activists will make any difference at a general election.
A Labour Prime Minister lied to Cabinet and House about the Iraq war case, his comms head perverted the course of justice, and admitted on live TV that he made stories up for political gain. The country votes to Brexit, and so a new Government is formed comprising a vast majority for Remaining.
Policeman now knock on doors investigating “allegations of homophobia” even though the condition is a fantasy and not a crime. The media inflates hate-crime numbers, but doesn’t count those committed by Islamists upon women and infidels. A darts player expresses a personal opinion on television, and a week later his career lies in ruins.
Do you see my point?
The guardians (such as they are) of those elements that make for a civilised and civilising culture are off with the fairies. They think a sexist remark matters when 350,000 grannies have had their State pensions embezzled. They think fgm in Mali matters when American egomania pushing the EU from behind is about to cause a deadly face-off between two nuclear powers.
Prime Ministers putting 150 squaddies on the Polish border. Opposition leaders saying keep nuclear submarines but take out the warheads. Chancellors of the Exchequer inflicting £280bn of austerity on citizens to reduce a trade deficit when the National Debt has grown from £1 trillion by £800bn – an 80% rise – over the same period. The price of oil at $50 when nobody wants any. Including QE in a gdp calculation.
We could be at this all night. Everything is unreal, surreal or upside down. It is make-believe being sold to the proles and driven by greed, survival and can-kicking.
We are, at the moment, more civilised than Jacob Zuma, Tony Abbott, Stalin and Bill Clinton. It’s not much to write home about, is it?
When the history of these our mad times is finally written, I suspect the title given will be The Age of Fancy.
An age in which infant men shave twice a day, men in locker rooms are never crude, fascist superstates are desirable peacekeepers, companies selling less and less are more and more valuable, men wield scimitars in support of the Religion of Peace, wealth trickles down, socialism works, and 150 kids armed with a sling-shot can scare the crap out of 147 million people.
“You couldn’t make it up,” says Littlejohn. We don’t have to: they’re already doing it.